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Close or limit access to common areas where employees are likely to congregate and interact. Increase physical space between employees at the worksite by modifying the workspace. Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.


For international travel, see the Small Business International Travel Resourcepdf icon, an employer and employee planning tool for safe and healthy employee travel. Advise employees to always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when they are cleaning and disinfecting and that they may need additional PPE based on the setting and product. Ensure there is adequate ventilation when using cleaning and disinfection products. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. Direct employees to visit CDC’s coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information. Encourage employees to use other noncontact methods of greeting.

Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees should consider drafting non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies. Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other. Ask employees to follow the CDC guidance on how to protect yourself when using transportation.

Inspect and maintain local exhaust ventilation in areas such as kitchens, cooking areas, etc . Consider operating these systems, even when the specific space is not occupied, to increase overall ventilation within the occupied building. Check filters to ensure they are within their service life and appropriately installed. When weather conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. If you have more than one business location, consider giving local managers the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plans based on their local conditions. Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours, when possible, to reduce contact with customers.

Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher-than-usual absenteeism. Consider using a hotline or another method for employees to voice concerns anonymously. Create and test communication systems that employees can use to self-report if they are sick and that you can use to notify employees of exposures and closures. Train workers on how implementing any new policies to reduce the spread of SARS CoV-2 may affect existing health and safety practices. This will eliminate the need for employees living in higher transmission areas to travel to workplaces in lower transmission areas and vice versa. Older adults and people of any age who have certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection.