National Safety Month Part 2
This blog features suggestions for safely reopening a business. It does not constitute legal advice. (After all; I’m not a lawyer. I’m a dog. In fact, I’m a virtual dog.)
Earlier this month, we started a two-part series marking June as National Safety Month. In part one, we focused on ways to keep people safe during a pandemic. To read the first entry in the two-part series, click here. This week, we conclude the series by focusing on best practices for reopening a business after the Coronavirus lockdown. I’m glad the lockdowns are currently behind us. I grow stir crazy spending all of my time in the doghouse.
Although specific reopening instructions vary by state, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) offers Guidance for Reopening. The website provides tips for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, including workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. CDC guidelines encourage practicing social distancing and embracing other hygienic habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. That sounds like a good idea to me!
How to Reduce the Risk of Coronaviruses Exposure:
When it comes to opening your facility in the wake of COVID-19, cleanliness is of paramount importance:
- If your facility has been closed and/unoccupied for seven days, you will not need to deep clean, as Coronaviruses naturally dies on surfaces within hours or days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects.
- Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes most germs and dirt from surfaces, lowering the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.
- Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces. Killing germs on a surface after cleaning further reduces the risk of spreading infection.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have approved specific disinfectants. These reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. If disinfectants on the list are difficult to obtain, use alternative disinfectants such as a solution made up of 1/3 cup of bleach added to one gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions. Bleach solutions effectively disinfect up to 24 hours. But be careful with bleach. It can also negatively affect bright colored clothes. I found out the hard way.
- Store and use disinfectants according to instructions on the label. Never mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can create dangerous fumes. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
- Do not overuse or stockpile disinfectants or other supplies. This results in shortages of supplies necessary for critical situations. This is especially true about bacon. Don’t hoard it. Leave some for me!
- Wear appropriate gloves for the chemicals you are using while cleaning and disinfecting. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be needed based on setting and product.
- Thoroughly dry surfaces.
- Practice social distancing.
- Erect plexiglass protective workplace barriers where members of the public would interact with staff members.
- Wear facial coverings. I find it difficult to bark while wearing a face mask.
- Encourage good hygiene, including posting material about frequently washing hands and using alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Advise people they should not enter the building if they exhibit any Coronavirus symptoms.
- Consider instituting Occupant temperature scanning. Until you are directed otherwise, you may wish to scan anyone who enters your facility. Several types of non-invasive and quick-read thermometers read forehead temperatures without contact. I much prefer this method to the one my veterinarian uses.
- Some industries require building owners to keep accurate records of each customer, including contact information, for more accurate tracking of any COVID-19 outbreaks. Whether such regulations will stand up to future legal scrutiny remains to be seen. But if your state requires such steps, make sure you inform building occupants about the protocol in a way that helps them understand the need.
- To limit your building’s liability for COVID-19, check out resources available on the Department of Labor and the Department of Health & Human Services’ website: Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
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