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Health and Safety Checklist for Returning to Work

June 2020

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) released guidelines for businesses that will be allowed to reopen during Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan. Also see: Workplace Rules for Essential Employers. As of June 17, certain businesses have been allowed to reopen for Phase 2.

Below is a checklist of health and safety guidelines for all Phase 1 businesses, along with guidelines based on industry.

If your employer is not following these standards, record which guidelines your employer is not following and make a report to the 2-1-1 hotline or your local health department. Keep a record of these notes so that you can document these health and safety hazards and present as evidence for unemployment purposes if need be.

Note: People who can work from home should continue to do so, and anyone over age 65 or with chronic health conditions should continue to shelter in place. If you are worried about returning to work because of health reasons, see:

Before quitting because your employer is not following the health and safety guidelines, see if other co-workers share your concern. Together, you can request (preferably in writing) that your employer fix any issues and keep your workplace safe. You should keep copies of any written communications with your employer for evidence. If you act together as a group to raise these issues to your employer, you have greater legal protections against retaliation.

El Gobernador de Connecticut Ned Lamont y el Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Comunitario (DECD) (released guidelines) para empresas que podrán reabrir durante la Fase 1 del plan de reapertura del estado. También vea: (Workplace Rules for Essential Employers). A partir del 17 de junio, se permitió la reapertura de ciertos negocios para la Fase 2.

A continuación, se incluye una lista de pautas de salud y seguridad durante la Fase 2 junto con pautas basadas en la industria.

Si su empleador no está siguiendo estos estándares, registre qué pautas no está siguiendo su empleador y haga un informe a la línea directa 2-1-1 o al departamento de salud local. Mantenga un registro de estas notas para poder documentar estos riesgos para la salud y la seguridad y presentarlos como evidencia para fines de desempleo si es necesario.

Nota: Las personas que pueden trabajar desde casa deben continuar haciéndolo, y cualquier persona mayor de 65 años o con condiciones de salud crónicas debe continuar refugiándose en el lugar. Si le preocupa regresar al trabajo por razones de salud, consulte:

Antes de renunciar porque su empleador no sigue las pautas de salud y seguridad, vea si otros compañeros de trabajo comparten su inquietud. Juntos, pueden solicitar (preferiblemente por escrito) que su empleador solucione cualquier problema y mantenga su lugar de trabajo seguro. Debe conservar copias de cualquier comunicación escrita con su empleador como prueba. Si actúan juntos como un grupo para plantear estos problemas a su empleador, tienen mayores protecciones legales contra represalias.

General Guidelines for Reopening during Phase 2

___ Has your employer chosen an appropriate person to be responsible for overseeing the health and safety guidelines?

___ Has your employer provided personal protection equipment (PPE) for employees who are working on site, including facemasks, gloves, and eye protection where needed? This equipment must be provided at no cost to the employee. Employees can also use their own additional protective equipment.

___ At a minimum, are employees wearing face coverings while working? There may be some exceptions, and employees are not required to wear a mask if they have a medical condition.

___ Has your employer created a cleaning plan that complies with industry-specific guidelines, including a thorough cleaning of the facilities before reopening? Are they using strict ongoing sanitation measures (see below for more info) once reopened?

___ Has your employer organized training programs to ensure all workers (including subcontractors) know about the state’s reopening guidelines and cleaning requirements? This training must be free for workers, held during work hours, and include weekly refreshers on policies.

___ Has your employer adjusted the physical space in the business to encourage social distancing, avoid unnecessary physical contact, avoid the use of shared items, and increase ventilation (where possible)?

___ Will your employer tell visitors about the rules as part of Phase 2?

___ Is your employer watching for possible exposure to COVID-19? Employers that reopen must ask daily if any employee on the premises has experienced symptoms of COVID-19.

___ Has your employer provided information about your rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which requires certain employers to give their employees paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave for reasons related to COVID-19?2

___ Is your employer retaliating against employees for raising safety or health concerns about COVID-19? Employers should attempt to address safety concerned raised by employees, and retaliating against employees who raise these concerns is illegal.

__ Has your employer staggered shifts to minimize unnecessary contact among employees?

__ Is your employer keeping a record of all employees who are working in order to support contact tracing efforts?

Guidelines for Specific Industries

__ Is the park using social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain at least 6 feet apart while waiting for a ride or to use facilities such as the bathroom? Since people will be waiting in line in groups, markers should be 10 feet apart.

__ Has the park rearranged lines in a maze-like style to prevent visitors from being face-to-face with others while waiting in line?

__ Is the park using loading procedures for each ride such as leaving empty rows or empty seats to separate guests?

___ Is your employer working to provide suitable social distancing between employees, including installing physical barriers at ticket counters and allowing employees to stay at the same workstation all day to minimize movement?

__ Are there virtual ticketing systems in place to minimize in-person contact and ticketing lines?

___ Employees should avoid sharing equipment, but if there is no choice but to share, is that equipment thoroughly cleaned after each use?

__ Are high touch areas such as handrails cleaned regularly?

__ Are water fountains restricted to water bottle filling stations only?

(For dining areas within the park, see: Restaurants)

___ Has your employer completely cleaned the bathrooms and any tools used during business operations, including shampoo bowls, chairs and headrests, shears, combs, brushes, tweezers, razors, styling tools, and rolling carts?

___ Has your employer continued these sanitation efforts after reopening?

___ Has your employer rearranged workstation set-ups to maintain social distancing between customers and limit movement of employees in shared space? For example, customers should be encouraged to wait in their cars until their appointment time and certain services may be limited or not allowed.

___ Has your employer limited non-essential amenities like waiting room materials, access to coat rooms, and use of customer-facing water and coffee machines?

___ Has your employer made it mandatory for customers and employees to use face coverings?

___ Using gloves is optional, but if they are being used, are workers required to change them after each customer?

__ Does the hotel carefully clean all facilities such as lobby, hallways, elevators, door handles and door knobs, bathrooms, kitchens, and shared equipment?

__ Is the hotel keeping a record of all employees and guests to support contact tracing efforts?

__ Has your employer staggered shifts to minimize unnecessary contact among employees?

__ Is room service and concierge service provided through contactless delivery methods?

__ Are indoor public spaces maintained at 50% capacity and rearranged to account for social distancing?

__ Does the hotel provide disposable amenities where possible, such as single-use shampoo bottles?

__ Is the hotel thoroughly disinfecting keycards upon check-in and check-out?

(For dining areas and fitness facilities within the hotel, see: Restaurants and Sports and Fitness Facilities sections.)

__ Are recreation spaces maintained at 50% capacity and rearranged to account for 6 feet of social distancing?

__ Has your employer closed all indoor waiting areas? Indoor waiting areas should not be used in Phase 2 reopening.

__ Have self-serve items been replaced with systems where staff provide such items directly?

__ Are shared spaces and equipment disinfected after each use?

(For dining services inside Indoor Recreation facilities, see: Restaurants.)

__ Are shared spaces and equipment (bathrooms, computer stations, etc.) disinfected after each use?

__ Is every other computer station blocked off to maintain 6 feet of social distancing?

__ Is the library waiving late fees and extending due dates to discourage visitors from coming to the library in-person?

__ is there a physical barrier separating visitors from employees working at information or circulation desks?

__ Are aisles marked as one-way to allow for smooth foot traffic and less contact among guests?

__ Are contactless book drops and pick-up services available to visitors?

__ Is the museum or zoo operating at 50% capacity in both indoor and outdoor areas? Outdoor areas reopened with a 50% capacity limit on May 20th for Phase 1. In Phase 2, indoor areas can also be open and operating at 50% capacity.

___ Once your employer has calculated the safe occupancy limit, are they enforcing it? Ways that it can be enforced including putting up signs, marking floors, and having people monitor the use of the space.

___ Have the facilities been cleaned carefully, especially highly used spaces such as common areas, ticket counters, and restrooms?

___ Is your employer working to provide suitable social distancing between employees, including installing physical barriers at ticket counters and allowing employees to stay at the same workstation all day to minimize movement?

__ Are there virtual ticketing systems in place to minimize in-person contact and ticketing lines?

___ Employees should avoid sharing equipment, but if there is no choice but to share, is that equipment cleaned after each use?

__ Are high touch areas such as handrails and exhibition case surfaces cleaned regularly?

__ If tours are offered, are they limited to 10 people including the tour guide?

__ Have audio-guided tours been suspended? Audio-guides that require shared equipment should not be used in Phase 2 Reopening.

__ If there are live performers present, are they wearing a mask or at least 12 feet away from the nearest person?

___ Is your employer allowing employees to work from home if possible?

___ Has your office carefully cleaned the office space, especially high-traffic areas and often used items such as entrances, lobbies, bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and elevators, door knobs, shared equipment (printers, scanners, phones, vending machines), desks, chairs, computers, and monitors?

___ If the office occupies leased space, have they worked with the landlord to ensure proper cleaning of common spaces outside of their usual control?

___ Has your office continued to clean after reopening?

___ Is your officers limiting visitors and service providers on-site?

___ Are deliveries occurring only in designated areas?

___ Has your office rearranged the workspace as appropriate to allow for social distancing between employees (for example, moving desks, using partitions, or dividing offices into work zones that allow for social distancing)?

___ Has your office closed spaces were employees usually gather?

___ Is your employer requiring people to wear face coverings in open areas and when employees are within six of each other? While employees are generally required to wear face coverings at all times, including at their workstation, this requirement is relaxed if an employee is working alone in a space such as a cubicle with walls or in a private office. In that case, employees can remove their face coverings when they are away from other employees. Also, employees do not have to wear face coverings in outdoor settings if the employee does not regularly come within six feet of another individual.

__ Has the event organizer marked 6 feet of spacing in the outdoor area?

__ Is the event organizer keeping a record of all employees, officials, and volunteers at the event to support contact tracing efforts?

__ Is there a separate exit and entrance to allow for one-way foot traffic?

__ Are there virtual ticketing and queuing mechanisms in place to minimize in-person contact?

__ If there are live performers present, are they wearing a mask or at least 12 feet away from the nearest person?

__ Can the service be performed without the customer removing their mask? Personal services that require the customer to remove their mask cannot be performed in Phase 2.

__ Are all waiting rooms, lobbies, and lounge areas closed?

__ Are all towels and other laundered items cleaned and stored after each use?

__ Is the service area cleaned and disinfected with medical/hospital/surgical grade disinfectant after every client?

__ Can reservations and payments be made virtually to encourage minimal contact?

__ Are all appointments one-on-one and staggered so that there is no overlap between customers?

__ Are operations limited to 50% of total capacity in indoor areas and 100% capacity in outdoor areas? Outdoor dining reopened with a 50% capacity limit on May 20 for Phase 1, but in Phase 2, outdoor areas can operate at normal capacity.

___ Before reopening, has the restaurant carefully cleaned all spaces in their facilities (for example bathrooms, kitchens, and seating areas)?

___ Has the restaurant continued to clean after reopening, including regular cleaning of areas used by customers, such as chairs and tables?

___ Has the restaurant rearranged seating and tables to provide at least six feet of distance between the closest chair at one occupied table and the closest chair at the next occupied table?

___ If the table configuration cannot be modified, has the restaurant marked some tables for non-use to allow for social distancing?

___ Does the restaurant have staggered workstations in the kitchen area so that employees can work at least six feet apart where possible?

___ Is the restaurant using social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain six feet apart while waiting to be seated or to use facilities such as the bathroom?

___ Is your restaurant still allowing buffet-style self-serve stations? Buffet-style self-serve stations cannot be used due to the increased health risks.

___ Are non-essential things such as dance floors, pool tables, and playgrounds closed or removed when possible?

___ Is the restaurant using single-use items, including silverware, condiments, and menus?

___ Is the restaurant requiring all employees to wear a mask and servers to use gloves that are replaced often?

___ Is the restaurant assigning servers to designated zones that reduce overlap with other employees where possible?

__ If bar seating is being used, is there a physical barrier separating customers from the bar space and anyone working behind it?

__ If there are live performers present, are they wearing a mask or at least 12 feet away from the nearest person?

___ Is your employer restricting operations to only 50% of total capacity?

___ Are certain areas such as fitting rooms closed?

___ Before reopening, were the facilities carefully cleaned, including staff break rooms and commonly touched areas in front of stores, such as shopping baskets and carts?

___ Are cleaning or disinfecting products or disposable wipes available near commonly used surfaces, such as cash registers, credit card machines, light switches, and door handles?

___ Is the retail store making efforts to ensure regular proper cleaning?

___ Where possible, is space divided into separate work zones that do not require employees to move around for no reason?

___ Has the employed closed spaces where employees tend to gather?

___ Are all dining areas in the mall closed? Food sold in the mall can be take out only. Malls are expected to monitor this issue and make sure take-out food is not eaten inside the mall. Restaurants within a mall can open if they have an outdoor space and can follow the rules that apply to restaurants.

___ Does the mall have security officers who can break up or remove any people gathering in groups if more than five?

___ Are activities that require unnecessary contact still operating? The guidelines state that certain activities are not allowed, such as valet services, the distribution of circulars, and self-serve samples.

___ Is the mall doing things to encourage social distancing, such as making entrances and exits one way only?

__ Is the center operating at a 50% building capacity?

__ If it is an indoor sporting event, are attendees limited to 50% of building capacity or 25 people (whichever is smaller) per field, court, pool, rink, etc.? Capacity limits can be increased, but only to include one parent or guardian per athlete.

__ Are visitors required to wear a mask while exercising? If not, visitors must maintain 12 feet of space (6 feet with a mask). These rules also apply to group classes.

__ Are athletes, coaches, and customers responsible for bringing their own water bottles? Water fountains will be limited to water bottle filling stations only.

__ Is every other locker marked for non-use to maintain a 6 feet social distancing requirement?

__ Is shared equipment and machinery cleaned carefully after each use?

A complete set of the Guidelines by Sector is available at https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Sector-Rules-for-May-20-Reopen.

Alexis Knapp, Jeff Nowak, Sebastian Chilco, Jim Paretti, and Michael Lotito, DOL Releases Regulations Implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Littler Insight (Apr. 2, 2020).

Centers for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html

Although the CDC guidelines are not enforceable, workers can use these rules to bring suggestions to their employer and to note safety measures the employer is not following.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/reopen-connecticut-phase-one-sector-38093/

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