COVID-19 – TALKS OF REOPENING THE ECONOMY LEAVE EMPLOYERS ASKING – NOW WHAT?
On April 13, 2020, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California, Oregon and Washington will be working together to develop guidelines for reopening the economy. At this point, employers across California are still left wondering what this means when they are finally able to open the doors. The reality is, we still don’t know. However, there are a few guiding principles to keep in mind as we wait to see what unfolds during the coming weeks.
1. IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME.
Prior to COVID-19, employees often would still come to work with a common cold because they did not want to get behind on their work. Employers would allow this as they too wanted their employees at work. However, at this juncture, employers need to make it clear to their employees if they feel sick, do not go to work.
2. DEVELOP POLICIES THAT MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING
While the ultimate decision about the best method to open back up the economy will be with the Governors of each state. The Federal government has issued guidelines for “Opening up America Again.” In those guidelines, it has been made clear that employers need to develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State and local governments that maintain social distancing. This to consider:
- Moving employee’s workspaces so that they can maintain social distancing;
- Develop new policies to address COVID-19 issues and concerns;
- Posting posters and guidelines around common areas in the office so that employees are informed of social distancing requirements;
- Adjusting the hours of the workday;
- Require that common areas be sanitized at set intervals throughout the day; and
- Postponing all non-essential travel;
3. KEEP INFORMED.
Now, perhaps more than ever, it is imperative for employers to stay informed regarding the current laws, guidelines and regulations regarding COVID-19. The laws are changing day by day. Employers need to make sure that the information that they are obtaining is from a reliable news source, such as directly from the State or Federal government. Someone sharing a MEME on social media should not be a source of information that you base decisions for your company on.
Sarah Ornelas is a Partner at the Modesto office of Borton Petrini, LLP. She is a member of the firm’s Employment Law practice group.
Legal Disclaimer: Please be informed that legislation and laws are rapidly developing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the legal analysis that is being provided is based on the analysis of the current legislation and current agency guidance, as it stands at this moment. Additional legislation and/or changes to current legislation may impact the information being given herein. This article is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.