No one knows how New Englanders will respond as the coronavirus pandemic quarantine comes to an end. Some will be reluctant to leave their homes until there is a vaccine, while many more will likely shy away from large crowds when they do go out in public. It is a fact, however, that the economy can only shut down for so long, so there will be a delicate balance as businesses weigh their options for reopening.
Owners who plan to reopen are likely excited to do so, but there are many problems to address when running a business in this new economic reality. Some issues will be unanswerable ahead of time, but some precautions will be necessary to move forward in 2020.
Issues to avoid when reopening
According to experts, addressing these issues can improve employee safety and reduce the chances of legal exposure by the business:
- Taking temperatures: Not only will there be logistical issues (think about a shift change at a factory), but there could also be potential legal exposure if biometric data is not kept private.
- Social distancing: The design of workspaces and businesses may present complicated obstacles to creating a safe environment. Social distancing among workers could be hard to enforce as well.
- Masks and safety equipment: Businesses will need to train employees on the correct way to wear a mask or gear, what is an acceptable mask (do bandanas count?) and how often equipment needs to be cleaned or replaced.
- Visitors: Maybe the staff has good safety habits, but many forget how many visitors a business receives – it can be customers or delivery people. It will likely be necessary to post signs outside the shop to explain any protocols for interacting with anyone working inside.
Every business needs its plan
There is a long list of challenges to address that are unique to the business and the work. Owners and managers with questions would be wise to speak with experienced business law and employment law attorney. These legal professionals will understand how to implement any new regulations best and can recognize potential areas of legal exposure.