Since some businesses are being permitted to open under strict guidelines, the question often arises, “How can I open my business while minimizing the adverse health impacts to my employees and customers as well as comply with the numerous ever-changing laws, orders, and regulations that have been promulgated?”
On July 24, 2020, California published its COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening to help employers plan and prepare for reopening their businesses and to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers. While counties, cities, and specific industries may require more stringent requirements prior to reopening or to remain open, this Playbook is a useful tool to use as a baseline reference.
Once reopened, a common question of increasing frequency is, “What do I do if an employee has symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19?”
This question brings up several issues such as,
(1) How do I identify potential exposure?
(2) What types of leave may the employee utilize?
(3) How do I communicate a potential exposure to employees?
(4) How do I prevent further spread?
(5) What type of reporting is required of the employer if an employee tests positive?
(6) When can the employee return to work?
It is important to recognize that similar to reopening, each county, city, and industry may have more stringent requirements, but the Playbook provides minimum general guidance on these issues to help employers address these issues.
Since the law is consistently changing and each county, city, and industry may have different and more strict requirements, the Playbook is a great source to start; however, it should not be the only source consulted. Since the laws, orders, and regulations are consistently changing with the evolving situation, if you have questions about your particular business, the attorneys of Sagaser, Watkins & Wieland, PC have spent thousands of hours working with employers on COVID-19-related issues, and we are available to help your business comply with the numerous complex COVID-19 issues.