President Trump Unveils Plan for Employers to Reopen Workplaces

April 17, 2020

President Trump announced a three-phase plan for reopening workplaces, including specific recommendations for employers, with implementation statewide or by county at the discretion of each governor.

In order for states to begin phase one reopening, they must have the following “gating” criteria:

  • A 14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-like illnesses;

  • A 14-day downward trajectory of documented COVID cases and positive COVID tests; and

  • The ability of hospitals to treat all patients without crisis care and have a robust testing program in place for at risk health care workers.

Under the plan, employers are expected to develop and implement appropriate policies in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations and guidance, informed by industry best practices regarding:

  • Social distancing and protective equipment;

  • Monitoring the workforce for symptoms with temperature checks, COVID testing, isolating and contact tracing;

  • Sanitation, use, and disinfection of common and high traffic areas; and

  • Business travel.

Symptomatic employees should not be allowed to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.

The plan also includes specific guidance for employers for each of the three reopening phases, including encouraging and minimizing non-essential travel.

“Twenty-nine states are in that ballgame” for phase one reopening, President Trump said of the states that have low instances of COVID-19.  He continued that there may be a couple of states that could begin phase one of reopening “literally tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have begun working on their recommendations to reopen the country through increased communication, aggressive distribution and testing for infection and immunity, and staged re-openings. The plan is not slated to begin before May 1 and will be dependent on local risk levels.

On Thursday, April 23 from 11:30 AM–12:30 PM EDT, HR Policy Association will host a membership-wide webinar discussing the issues employers must consider in reopening workplaces and the challenges they face.  Stay tuned for more information.