For weeks, many states issued mandatory stay-at-home orders to help combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said Phase One of the state’s new plan to start easing restrictions on some businesses and social gatherings would start May 9.
The first phase, titled “Testing the Waters,” would allow some business and social activity to resume while keeping “significant restrictions” in place.
When Rhode Island employers do reopen and employees return to work, they are under strict guidelines to keep their people safe onsite.
It’s a new world, really.
No more chats around the water cooler with co-workers, unless everyone stays six feet apart, wears a disposable mask and uses hand sanitizer — frequently.
“Leaders must provide government recommended provisions, such as masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as implement social distancing for the wellness and safety of on-site employees,” Deborah Alvord, Senior Director Analyst in Gartner’s Customer service and support practice, said.
Here are the essential steps Rhode Island employers must take to assure their people can perform critical roles while staying healthy onsite:
Steps for Safeguarding On-site Employees
Provide employees access to regular handwashing with soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and ensure that common areas (including but not limited to break rooms, locker rooms, dining facilities, rest rooms, conference or training rooms) are cleaned on a regular basis, including between any shifts.
Provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement to wear masks while on the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Health and the CDC.
On-site employees should follow the social distancing six-feet rule and all other CDC guidelines while in the workplace.
Allow only necessary employees in the office. Restrict deliveries – from essential supplies like masks and hand sanitizer.
When onsite employees must meet – for shift huddles, brainstorming, etc. –use Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Skype For Business.
Add partitions where needed and raise cubicle walls. Add plexiglass dividers in common areas, such as the break room, so people can still sit six feet apart and interact safely. In more open-space areas, such as manufacturing and warehousing facilities, mark six-foot positions with brightly colored duct tape so employees always have a sense of a safe distance to maintain from each other.
Make Sure Your Workplace Stays Compliant
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This act requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or extended FMLA leave for reasons related to COVID-19.
The FFCRA poster must be posted in a conspicuous area. You can shop the required poster here:
Additionally, Rhode Island is required to post their specific labor law posters.
After COVID-19: Getting Your Business & People Back On-track
Tuesday, May 26th, 1PM | Live & On-Demand
Join our 60-minute program, led by Michelle Coussens, to learn how to restore business operations and help your team resume activities – while leveraging recent lessons learned.
We’ll discuss how to:
- Restore business operations after full or part-time shut down
- Transition your remote workers back on-site
- Prepare for a potential resurgence of the virus or other potential crises
- Incorporate lessons learned from the current crisis and keep the advances going