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Q: How can we get back to normal in the workplace while protecting employees from COVID-19?

While some people can work from home during the pandemic, other jobs require them to work on-site. Employers need to take precautions to protect employees as much as possible. While those precautions might differ depending on the nature of the workplace, there are basic steps every employer can take to stay COVID-safe.

First and foremost, the CDC recommends that businesses actively encourage sick employees to avoid coming to work. If an employee has symptoms, they should notify a supervisor, stay home, and consult with a healthcare provider. If someone in their household tests positive for COVID-19, they should also quarantine at home.

Employers should also consider conducting daily health screenings, including symptom and temperature checks, either virtually or in-person, at the facility's entrance. These checks should be done with appropriate PPE and social distancing and should be kept as private as possible.

Conduct a hazard assessment of your workplace to identify points of contact where COVID-19 could be transmitted. Provide appropriate PPE and increase cleaning and disinfection with EPA approved products as well as the spacing between people to reduce the risk in these areas.

If the hazard assessment has determined that employees do not need special PPE, such as a respirator or medical face mask, require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings. Provide training and education about COVID safety to employees and have a plan to inform employees of any possible exposures that may occur at work.

If an employee gets sick or develops symptoms while at work, separate them and send them home.

Finally, stay up to date on federal, state, and county requirements, and make sure you're following the latest guidelines for COVID safety.

Kelly Catiel
Infection Control Manager, Maui Health