Coronavirus: Best Practices for your business, restaurant, delivery service, etc.

Coronavirus: Best Practices for your business, restaurant, delivery service, etc.

If you are a business owner looking for guidance to project your employees, your customers yourself and your business itself from this of coronavirus (both the health risk and the business liabilities) the resources on this page and those linked to below will be helpful.

Perform routine cleaning and disinfection

  • Follow the Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting to develop, implement, and maintain a plan to perform regular cleanings to reduce the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them using a detergent or soap and water before you disinfect them.
    • For disinfection, most common, EPA-registered, household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available on the EPA website. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method, and contact time).
  • Discourage workers from using each other's phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
  • Provide disposable disinfecting wipes so that employees can wipe down commonly used surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) before each use.
  • Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label.
  • Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in.
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation when using cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Advise employees to always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when they are cleaning and disinfecting and that they may need additional PPE based on the setting and product.

Perform cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility

Examples that can be incorporated into the in-person screening process.

  • Social Distancing: Ask employees to take their own temperature either before coming to the workplace or upon arrival at the workplace. Upon their arrival, stand at least 6 feet away from the employee and:
    • Ask the employee to confirm that their temperature is less than 100.4o F (38.0o C)
    • Make a visual inspection of the employee for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks, sweating inappropriately for ambient temperature, or difficultly with ordinary tasks
    • Screening staff do not need to wear PPE if they can maintain a distance of 6 feet; however, screening staff and employees being screened should wear masks.
  • Barrier/Partitional Controls: During screening, the screener should stand behind a physical barrier, such as a glass or plastic window or partition, that can protect the screener's face and mucous membranes from respiratory droplets that may be produced when the employee sneezes, coughs, talks, or breathes. Upon arrival, the screener should wear a mask and wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. For each employee:
    • Make a visual inspection of the employee for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks, sweating inappropriately for ambient temperature, or difficulty with ordinary tasks.
    • Conduct temperature and symptom screening
      • Put on disposable gloves.
      • Check the employee's temperature, reaching around the partition or through the window. Make sure the screener's face stays behind the barrier at all times during the screening.
      • Contact thermometers need to be cleaned and disinfected after each screened employee according to manufacturer's instructions and facility policies. Non-contact thermometers should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer's instructions and facility policies.
    • Remove and discard gloves, and wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds between each employee. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
      • If disposable or non-contact thermometers are used and the screener does not have physical contact with the individual, the screener's gloves do not need to be changed before the next check. Gloves should be removed and discarded if soiled or damaged. Gloves should not be worn continuously for more than for four hours. After removing gloves, screeners should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Gloves should be removed and discarded anytime they are soiled or damage.

Consider incorporating testing for SARS-CoV-2 into workplace preparedness, response, and control plans

  • Approaches may include initial testing of all workers before entering a workplace, periodic testing of workers at regular intervals, or targeted testing of new workers or those returning from a prolonged absence such as medical leave or furlough, or some combination of approaches. Several factors may be helpful in determining the interval for periodic testing, including availability of testing, results of previous testing, and level of community transmission.

Identify where and how workers might be exposed to individuals with COVID-19 at work

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace. Conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the workplace to identify potential workplace hazards related to COVID-19. Use appropriate combinations of control measures from the hierarchy of controls to limit the spread of COVID-19, including engineering controls, workplace administrative policies, and PPE to protect workers from the identified hazards (see table below):

  • Conduct a thorough hazard assessment to determine if workplace hazards are present, or are likely to be present, and determine what type of controls or PPE are needed for specific job duties.
  • When engineering and administrative controls cannot be implemented or are not fully protective, employers are required by OSHA standards to:
    • Determine what PPE is needed for their workers' specific job duties,
    • Select and provide appropriate PPE to the workers at no cost, and
    • Train their workers on its correct use.
  • Ensure all employees wear masks in accordance with CDC and OSHA guidance as well as any state or local requirements. This applies if the hazard assessment has determined that they do not require PPE, such as a respirator or medical facemask for protection.
    • CDC recommends wearing a mask, that covers the nose and mouth and fits snugly against the sides of the face, as a measure to contain the wearer's respiratory droplets and help protect their co-workers and members of the general public. Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Masks are meant to help prevent workers who do not know they have the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading it to others; however, masks might provide some protection to wearers.
    • Masks do not provide the same level of protection as a medical facemask or respirator and should not replace PPE required or recommended at the workplace.
  • Remind employees and customers that CDC recommends wearing masks in public settings and when around people who do not live in their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Wearing a mask, however, is not a substitute for social distancing. Masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart.
  • See the OSHA COVID-19 webpage for more information on how to protect workers from potential SARS-CoV-2 exposures and guidance for employers, including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.

Separate sick employees

  • Employees who appear to have symptoms upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors, and sent home.
  • Have a procedure in place for the safe transport of an employee who becomes sick while at work. The employee may need to be transported home or to a healthcare provider.

Take action if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19

In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person:

  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.

If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection are not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.

Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations:

  • Clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting them.
  • To disinfect surfaces, use products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
  • Always wear gloves and gowns appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation when using cleaning and disinfection products to prevent from inhaling toxic vapors.
  • You may need to wear additional PPE depending on the setting and disinfectant product you are using. For each product you use, consult and follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.

Determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus and may need to take additional precautions:

Educate employees about steps they can take to protect themselves at work and at home

  • Encourage employees to follow any new policies or procedures related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.
  • Advise employees to:
    • Stay home if they are sick, except to get medical care, and to learn what to do if they are sick.
    • Inform their supervisor if they have a sick household member at home with COVID-19 and to learn what to do if someone in their home is sick.
    • Wear a mask when out in public and when around people who do not live in their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or to use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Inform employees that if their hands are visibly dirty, they should use soap and water instead of hand sanitizer. Key times for employees to clean their hands include:
      • Before and after work shifts
      • Before and after work breaks
      • After blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After using the restroom
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings
    • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of their elbow. Throw used tissues into no-touch trash cans and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about coughing and sneezing etiquette on the CDC website.
    • Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA's criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
    • Avoid using other employees' phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. Clean and disinfect them before and after use.
    • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 6 feet) from others when possible.

For employees who commute to work using public transportation or ride sharing, consider offering the following support

  • If feasible, offer employees incentives to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others (e.g., biking, walking, driving or riding by car either alone or with household members).
  • Ask employees to follow the CDC guidance on how to protect yourself when using transportation.
  • Allow employees to shift their hours so they can commute during less busy times.
  • Ask employees to clean their hands as soon as possible after their trip.

Maintain Healthy Business Operations

Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.

Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices

  • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible, non-punitive, and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
  • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.
  • Some workers may be eligible to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Families First Coronavirus Response Act .
  • Employers with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for 100% tax credits for Families First Coronavirus Response Act COVID-19 paid leave provided through March 31, 2021, up to certain limits.
  • Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees should consider drafting non-punitive "emergency sick leave" policies.
  • Employers should not require a COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider's note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.
  • Review human resources policies to make sure that your policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor's and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's websites).
  • Connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources, if available, and community resources as needed. Employees may need additional social, behavioral, and other services, for example, to help them manage stress and cope.

Protect employees at higher risk for severe illness through supportive policies and practices

Older adults and people of any age who have certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

  • Support and encourage options to telework, if available. This will eliminate the need for employees living in higher transmission areas to travel to workplaces in lower transmission areas and vice versa.
  • Consider offering employees at higher risk for severe illness duties that minimize their contact with customers and other employees (e.g., restocking shelves rather than working as a cashier), if the worker agrees to this.
  • Ensure that any other businesses and employers sharing the same workspace also follow this guidance.

Communicate supportive workplace polices clearly, frequently, and via multiple methods

Employers may need to communicate with non-English speakers in their preferred languages.

  • Train workers on how implementing any new policies to reduce the spread of SARS CoV-2 may affect existing health and safety practices.
  • Communicate to any contractors or on-site visitors about changes that have been made to help control the spread of SARS CoV-2. Ensure that they have the information and capability to comply with those policies.
  • Create and test communication systems that employees can use to self-report if they are sick and that you can use to notify employees of exposures and closures.
  • Consider using a hotline or another method for employees to voice concerns anonymously.

Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.

  • Be prepared to change your business practices, if needed, to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations).
  • Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. Some goods and services may be in higher demand or unavailable.
  • If other companies provide your business with contract or temporary employees, talk with them about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Talk with business partners about your response efforts. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
  • Identify and prioritize job functions for continuous operations. Minimize the number of workers present at worksites by balancing the need to protect workers with support for continuing operations.

Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children until childcare programs and K-12 schools can resume their normal schedules.

  • Plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.
  • Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher-than-usual absenteeism.
  • Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies.
  • Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.

Establish policies and practices for social distancing. Alter your workspace to help workers and customers maintain social distancing and physically separate employees from each other and from customers, when possible. Here are some strategies that businesses can use:

  • Implement flexible worksites (e.g., telework).
  • Implement flexible work hours (e.g., rotate or stagger shifts to limit the number of employees in the workplace at the same time).
  • Increase physical space between employees at the worksite by modifying the workspace.
  • Increase physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive-through service, physical barriers such as partitions).
  • Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed at least 6 feet apart, to indicate where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
  • Implement flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone in-person non-essential meetings or events in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance).
  • Close or limit access to common areas where employees are likely to congregate and interact.
  • Prohibit handshaking.
  • Deliver services remotely (e.g., phone, video, or web).
  • Adjust your business practices to reduce close contact with customers - for example, by providing drive-through service, click-and-collect online shopping, shop-by-phone, curbside pickup, and delivery options, where feasible.
  • Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier, if possible, to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier.
  • Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours, when possible, to reduce contact with customers.

If you have more than one business location, consider giving local managers the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plans based on their local conditions.

Maintain a healthy work environment

Ensure the safety of your building water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown

Give employees, customers, and visitors what they need to clean their hands and cover their coughs and sneezes

  • Provide tissues and no-touch trash cans.
  • Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.
  • Ideally, place touchless hand sanitizer stations in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen. This should include signs for non-English speakers, as needed.
  • Discourage handshaking. Encourage employees to use other noncontact methods of greeting.
  • Direct employees to visit CDC's coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

Perform routine cleaning and disinfection

  • Follow the Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting to develop, implement, and maintain a plan to perform regular cleanings to reduce the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them using a detergent or soap and water before you disinfect them.
    • For disinfection, most common, EPA-registered, household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available on the EPA website. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method, and contact time).
  • Discourage workers from using each other's phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
  • Provide disposable disinfecting wipes so that employees can wipe down commonly used surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) before each use.
  • Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label.
  • Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in.
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation when using cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Advise employees to always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when they are cleaning and disinfecting and that they may need additional PPE based on the setting and product.

Perform cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility

Limit travel and advise employees, if they must travel, to take additional precautions and preparations

  • Minimize non-essential travel and if resuming non-essential travel, follow state and local regulations and guidance.
  • Check Travel Planner for state, local, tribal, and territorial government restrictions before traveling.
  • Check the CDC's Traveler's Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country where you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from countries with travel advisories, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
  • For international travel, see the Small Business International Travel Resource, an employer and employee planning tool for safe and healthy employee travel.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 before starting travel and to notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • If they are outside the United States, sick employees should follow company policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to help them find an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, or resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

Minimize risk to employees when planning meetings and gatherings

  • Use videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.
  • Cancel, adjust, or postpone large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person in accordance with state and local regulations and guidance.
  • When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces continuing to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet apart and wear masks.

Maintain a tobacco-free workplace that protects those in workplaces from involuntary, secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke.

Resources for more information:

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