On Thursday, May 7, 2020 – six weeks after Oregon Governor Brown announced a statewide “Stay Home” order – Governor Brown released details for Reopening Oregon over the coming weeks and months. The Governor’s plan follows federal guidance and permits certain businesses to reopen in phases after specific public health prerequisites are met.
In the first phase of the plan, counties that satisfy those prerequisites may permit certain business activities starting on May 15. Phase 1 activities include sit-down dining at restaurants and bars and personal care services. Each phase is required to last at least 21 days to ensure that each health benchmark is met before further loosening restrictions in the next phase.
In her announcement, the Governor also issued guidance for various sectors of the state – the public, employers, outdoor recreation, restaurants & bars, retail stores, and personal services providers. The state’s guidance for employers is summarized below; we provided more detail for many of these concepts in our own Ten Things to Consider in Getting Back to Work.
- Know the signs of COVID-19 illness and have a plan for what to do if an employee develops symptoms at the workplace.
- Follow state and federal guidelines to protect employee health and safety.
- Promote social distancing at work.
- Understand your obligations under state and federal leave laws.
Employee Schedules and Travel
- Identify positions appropriate for at least partial teleworking, including for employees the CDC has identified as high risk.
- Stagger work schedules.
- Limit non-essential work travel.
Workplace Safety (see sector-specific guidance here)
- Implement physical distancing at the workplace.
- Reinforce hygiene and sanitation.
- Consider requiring the use of face coverings.
- Consider facilities upgrades, including no-touch water faucets, increasing fresh-air ventilation.
- Consider touchless payment systems.
- Conduct virtual meetings as much as possible.
- Consider health screening, such as temperature checks or self-reports of symptoms, if job-related and consistent with business necessity.
Leave and Health Insurance
- Understand and comply with federal, state, and local leave laws, including new protections for employees unable to work due to COVID-19-related circumstances.
- Comply with any applicable requirements for maintaining employee health insurance coverage.
- Have a plan for employees who develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.
Downsizing and Layoffs
- Determine whether alternatives to layoffs, such as furloughs or reduced schedules, are feasible. (See our article Staying Connected with Your Employees: Temporary Hours Reduction or Work Share Program? for some relevant considerations.)
- Create a plan for recalling employees back to work. (We previously provided Ten Things to Consider in Getting Back to Work.)
The state’s guidance covers only some of the myriad issues employers will face as they restart operations. For guidance specific to the challenges facing your business, contact your Stoel Rives attorney.