We are all anxiously awaiting reopening our doors and returning to some sense of normalcy. However, it is important to follow the mandatory guidelines to ensure you are safely and legally reopening. In addition to following the limitations of openings established by the state-specific Phases, there are explicit guidelines established for each industry. It is important to review these carefully to ensure the health & safety of your employees and any visitors, as well as to avoid workers’ compensation claims or NYS Department of Health fines. You want to prevent any spread of the virus wreaking havoc on your recently reopened business.
It is extremely important that you review the requirements by Phase and Industry. They can be found here.
These documents include mandatory guidelines as well as recommended best practices regarding:
1. Physical Distancing
2. Protective Equipment
3. Hygiene & Cleaning
The NYS website includes a NYS Business Reopening Safety Plan template that all businesses are required to complete. It is not submitted to any NYS department; it is only maintained on-site, at the business office, in the event that the Department of Health (or any other agency) visits, as they would request to review this completed document and inspect the validity within your business location.
Some key mandates to consider that apply to most industries:
- Daily health screening assessment upon arrival at the workplace
- Increased cleaning efforts and procedures
- Providing appropriate PPE at no cost to employees and visitors
- Displaying required signs and floor markers
- Social distancing requirements within the workplace
For many, this may require physical reorganization to accommodate 6-foot distances, alternate schedules, expanded hours, or some employees continuing to work remotely.
Completing this template also ensures you have a plan of how to proceed should someone test positive for COVID-19 and who will report it accordingly to the state and local health departments.
Operations may not be exactly the same as they were before this pandemic as unfortunately, we may have to adhere to these new guidelines and strict social distancing for the unforeseeable future.
Edward McWilliams, CPA
Ed is a Partner in the firm’s tax and business advisory practice focusing on providing services to middle market private companies across different industries as well as to early stage startups. Ed has over a decade of experience providing tax and business consulting services to these companies of different sizes and across different industries, bringing a broad and diverse knowledge base and strategic solutions to the many complex issues that businesses face.