Returning businesses safely to operation remains an urgent priority. Under the extension of the Stay at Home Order to May 15, many businesses are able to, and should, safely and smartly return to commerce. The concept of reopening is not necessarily the same as getting working again, and as we have seen demonstrated by businesses in essential industries, it is possible to operate under a new normal of safe work practices. Many businesses fall in the ‘grey area’ of the order, meaning that their business sector or type is not explicitly listed as having to physically close. As reiterated by the Governor, those business are allowed to be open, following the guidance from the state regarding limiting the number of people on site and related to safety and sanitization measures. Businesses that are physically closed are able to pursue opening virtually, whether through virtual services, consultations, online sales, and other contactless sales methods. BRAC last week published analysis further addressing the grey area to assist businesses in understanding what is and is not allowed. That guidance is available here.
As reported by the Governor, three changes to the updated Stay at Home order include:
- Malls will remain closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery.
- Restaurants will be allowed to open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals only, without tableside service.
- All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask.
BRAC encourages businesses in any sector to thoughtfully prepare for returning employees to the workplace. Last week, we released a Safe at Work framework endorsed by more than 50 business groups and chambers around the state. The framework outlines issues for business leaders to consider as they chart their reopening plans, including:
- access to PPE supplies for reopening businesses,
- unique barriers for disadvantaged businesses,
- access to childcare and daycare for returning employees,
- sector considerations for phases of reopening,
- legal protections for recovering businesses, and
- second wave concerns.
On Wednesday at 11 a.m., BRAC will host Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief policy officer, to review responsible opening strategies and federal guidance on the topic. That webinar is free and open to the general business community. More information and registration is available at brac.org/recovery.