Employers

On May 4, 2020, Governor Inslee released guidelines for re-opening society over a phased approach. Here.

SHORT VERSION: Every employer should have a plan for safely re-opening. That plan should take into account the guidelines and objectives listed below, and should be specific to your business or industry. Once you have a plan, you should make sure your employee know your plan, and follow it.

PHASES: There are four planned, each will be a minimum of three weeks. The first started May 5, 2020. The Governor will announce all changes and guidelines specific to each phase. (Three weeks is two weeks for the virus incubation period plus another week to compile data.)

Governor Inslee mentioned in passing the work of Challenge Seattle and the Washington Roundtable in assembling a checklist for safe re-opening. Here is the link to that document, it has a lot of useful information.

Specific to Employers, Governor Inslee's guidelines require all employers to:

  • "Maintain the six-foot physical distancing requirements for employees and patrons. Adopt other prevention measures such as barriers to block sneezes and coughs when physical distancing is not possible for a particular job task.
  • Provide services while limiting close interactions with patrons.
  • Provide adequate sanitation and personal hygiene for workers, vendors and patrons. Ensure employees have access to hand washing facilities so they can wash their hands frequently with soap and running water.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of the business, particularly of high-touch surfaces.
  • Identify personal protective equipment (PPE) and cloth facial coverings in accordance with L&I requirements on facial coverings and industry specific COVID-19 standards. Provide the necessary PPE and supplies to employees.
  • Identify strategies for addressing ill employees, which should include requiring COVID-19 positive employees to stay at home while infectious, and potentially restricting employees who were directly exposed to the COVID-19 positive employee. Follow CDC cleaning guidelines to deep clean after reports of an employee with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 illness. This may involve the closure of the business until the location can be properly disinfected.
  • Educate employees about COVID-19 in a language they best understand. The education should include the signs, symptoms and risk factors associated with COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread.
  • On a case-by-case basis, as directed by federal, state and local public health and workplace safety officials, implement other practices appropriate for specific types of businesses, such as screening of employees for illness and exposures upon work entry, requiring non-cash transactions, etc.
  • Follow requirements in Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46 High-Risk Employees – Workers’ Rights.
  • Keep a safe and healthy facility in accordance with state and federal law, and comply with COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices, as outlined in Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25, and in accordance with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries General Coronavirus Prevention Under Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations.
  • Challenge Seattle and the Washington Roundtable have developed a business checklist which is a great starting point for businesses as they prepare for a Safe Start. Our shared goal is to establish clear requirements that everyone can understand and apply — employers, workers and customers.

Businesses are also expected to implement any additional requirements developed specifically for their industry, such as those that have been established for construction."