The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recently announced that, upon reopening, businesses must have written safety plans explaining how they will prevent the spread of infection. This plan need not be submitted to a NYS agency, but it must be kept on a business' premises and readily available to the DOH upon an inspection. While business owners are welcome to create their own safety plans, the DOH has released a template that business owners may simply print and fill out. A link to the template can be found below this article.
If developing their own safety plans, business owners should include:
- how employees will follow social distancing requirements in the workplace;
- which industry-specific practices might affect social distancing requirements, and, if any, how they will be modified to comply with the requirements;
- the practices in place to allow customers to follow social distancing requirements (i.e, provided masks and hand sanitizer, floor markers every six feet, designated drop-off/pick-up spots, etc.);
- that employees are provided with masks for no cost and that the employer has a sufficient number of replacement masks;
- that such masks will be cleaned or replaced once dirtied or damaged;
- that employees will wear gloves when necessary and wash their hands frequently and with provided cleaners (soap and water or hand sanitizer);
- that Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and DOH sanitizing requirements will be satisfied and that employers will document all cleaning (date, time, and scope);
- that there will be regular cleaning and disinfecting;
- and that the employer will communicate and encourage social distancing, use of PPE, and proper cleaning and sanitizing through signage.
Additionally, business owners should keep a log of anyone who has close contact with others at the workplace, including employees and visitors. NYS has mandated that an employer must immediately contact the DOH and appropriate local health department if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Lastly, employers should provide appropriate screening measures (i.e., employee temperature checks before each shift or asking if employees or any household members have COVID-19 symptoms) and contact tracing measures (i.e., how the employer will inform anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 on the premises).
Each re-opening business must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template to fulfill the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan.