Resuming Business Toolkit

The Resuming Business Toolkit is designed to assist employers in slowing the spread of COVID-19 [1] and lowering the impact in their workplace when reintegrating employees into non-healthcare business settings. Not sure whether you’re ready to resume business? Use CDC’s decision tools [2-3] as a start.

This toolkit includes the following materials:

Employer Sheet

Resuming Business Toolkit for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The information in this toolkit is based on CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [4]. Be sure to thoroughly review this guidance for complete information.

Before resuming your non-healthcare business operations, it is important to consider how much the disease is spreading in your community and the readiness of workplace management to protect the safety and health of employees and the public. CDC’s decision tools [2-3] can help with determine if it is time.

For information about conditions in your community, contact your local health department [5].

This toolkit provides a checklist to prepare the workplace for operations and a tool to navigate protective options for workers. Revisit materials regularly as the COVID-19 situation can change in your community.

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Get started with the Restart Readiness Checklist, working with others in management to identify which checklist items apply to your business. Revisit the list as you make progress on items and as conditions in your area change.

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Select protective measures in the Worker Protection Tool, based on the nature of your employees’ interactions with other workers and/or the public. Consider whether multiple categories apply to your business, then work through those items.

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Share the Returning to Work Infographic with employees. Depending on your business, consider the following ways of incorporating the infographic into the workplace:

  • Print and post in common areas such as break rooms, hallways, elevators, or bathrooms.
  • Email to employees, encouraging them to print a copy and place it where they will see it often in their office or workspace.
  • Read content during team meetings, reminding employees to reach out with any questions.

Restart Readiness Checklist

for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Use this checklist (for non-healthcare employers) as a guide to resuming business operations as safely and healthy as possible for you, your employees, and the public. Some items may need to be ongoing, so regularly revisit the checklist while COVID-19 cases exist. Only complete those items that apply to your business. See the Resources section for links and QR codes to web resources.

1. Prevent and reduce transmission among employees
Prevent and reduce transmission among employees
Item Completed Ongoing Not Started Not Applicable
Monitor federal, state, and local public health communications about COVID-19. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Ensure workers have access to current information.
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  • Check local public health information [5] and the CDC COVID-19 website [1] daily, or as needed depending on local conditions.
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Reinforce how employees can protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by communicating the following: square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • If you have symptoms [6], notify your supervisor and stay home.
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  • If you are sick, follow CDC-recommended steps [7], and do not return to work until you meet criteria to discontinue home isolation [8].
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  • If you are well, but have someone in your household who has COVID-19, notify your supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions [9].
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  • Wash hands [10] often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
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  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
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  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing, immediately throw tissue in trash, then wash hands.
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  • Develop a cleaning and disinfecting plan [11].
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  • Clean and disinfect [12] frequently touched objects and surfaces at the beginning and end of each shift.
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  • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment. Clean and disinfect between employees if sharing occurs.
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  • Avoid large gatherings, [13] and stay at least 6 feet from others when possible.
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  • Use cloth face coverings (if appropriate) [14] when social distancing is not possible, and especially in areas of with high levels of cases.
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Plan for conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks [15] (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) before employees enter the facility: square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Use social distancing (about 6 feet distance), barriers or partitions, and/or personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect screeners.
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  • If taking temperatures, use touchless thermometers.
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  • Consider providing multiple screening entries.
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  • Consider designating doorways as “entry only” or “exit only.”
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  • Make employee health screenings as private as possible.
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  • Do not determine risk based on race or country of origin; be sure to maintain confidentiality of each individual’s medical status and history [16].
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Conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Identify potential hazards that might expose workers to COVID-19.
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  • Use the Worker Protection Tool to identify appropriate engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment (PPE) options for your workplace.
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Plan for what to do if an employee is sick at work. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Immediately separate employees who appear to have symptoms [6] from others in the workplace.
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  • Have a procedure for safe transport of a sick employee to home or a healthcare facility.
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Develop an action plan for suspected/confirmed cases. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • If it has been fewer than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility:
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    • Close off areas that have been used by the sick person for long periods of time (e.g., their desk or workstation).
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    • Wait 24 hours (or as long as possible), then clean and disinfect [12] the area.
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    • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation during the waiting period.
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  • If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection beyond routine efforts is not necessary.
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  • Determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus and may need to take additional precautions:
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    • Inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, but maintain confidentiality [17].
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    • Most workplaces can follow the Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure [18].
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    • Critical infrastructure [19] workplaces can follow appropriate safety practices [20].
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2. Maintain healthy business operations
Maintain healthy business operations
Item Completed Ongoing Not Started Not Applicable
Identify a coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Inform employees who this person is and how to communicate with that person.
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Implement sick leave policies and practices that are flexible and supportive. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Ensure sick leave policies and practices are consistent with public health guidance, follow state and federal workplace laws and policies, and are shared with employees.
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  • Allow employees to stay home, without penalty, to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to closures.
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  • If you do not offer sick leave, consider implementing non-punishing “emergency sick leave” policies.
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  • Do not require a COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.
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Protect higher risk employees [21]. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Support and encourage telework, if available.
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  • Consider offering vulnerable workers [22] duties that minimize their contact with customers and other employees (e.g., restocking shelves).
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Communicate supportive workplace policies. You may need to communicate with non-English speakers in their preferred languages. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Train workers on how new policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 may affect existing health and safety practices.
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  • Communicate to contractors or on-site visitors about changes to help control the spread of COVID-19.
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  • Create and test communication systems that employees can use to self-report if they are sick that you can also use to notify employees of exposures and closures.
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Assess essential functions and the reliance that others have on your services or products. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Prepare to change your business practices, if needed, to maintain critical operations.
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  • Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods/services.
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  • When resuming onsite business operations, prioritize job functions for continuous operations. Resume business operations in phases.
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Plan for employee absenteeism spikes. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Monitor absenteeism at work.
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  • Implement plans to continue essential business functions.
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  • Cross-trainemployees to perform essential functions.
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Establish social distancing [23] policies and practices. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Implement flexible worksites, work hours, and meeting and travel options.
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  • Modify the workplace to increase physical space between employees, and between employees and customers, to 6 feet or more, where feasible.
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  • Use signs, tape marks, or other visual cues to indicate where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.
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  • Have employees and customers wear cloth face coverings (if appropriate) [14] when physical barriers or social distancing is not possible.
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  • Discourage handshaking or other close contact.
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  • Deliver services remotely.
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  • Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier, if possible.
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  • Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours, when possible.
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Delegate authority to local managers of your business locations to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plans based on their local conditions. square icon square icon square icon square icon
3. Maintain a healthy work environment
Maintain a healthy work environment
Item Completed Ongoing Not Started Not Applicable
Implement controls according to the hierarchy of controls [24] to protect employees and the public. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Use the Worker Protection Tool to identify appropriate engineering, administrative, and personal protective equipment (PPE) options for your workplace.
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Modify ventilation systems [25] square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Work with building maintenance staff to determine if the ventilation system can be modified to increase ventilation rates or the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
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  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality.
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  • Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV).
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  • Further open minimum outdoor air dampers (as high as 100%) to reduce or eliminate recirculation.
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  • Improve central air filtration to MERV-13, or the highest compatible with the filter rack, and seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.
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Ensure the safety of the water system of your building after a prolonged shutdown. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Follow the CDC Guidance for Building Water Systems [26].
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Supply employees, customers, and visitors with what they need to clean hands and cover coughs and sneezes. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, and touchless hand sanitizer stations.
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  • Provide soap and water. If soap and water are not readily available, provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
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  • Direct employees to visit CDC’s coughing and sneezing etiquette [27] and clean hands webpage [28].
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  • Place posters that encourage cough/sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene [29-30] at the entrance to and throughout your workplace (e.g., bathrooms and kitchens). Include signs for non-English speakers, as needed.
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Perform routine cleaning and disinfecting. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Follow CDC’s Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting [11] to develop, implement, and maintain a plan.
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  • Clean all frequently touched surfaces at the beginning and end of each shift, at minimum.
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  • Clean dirty surfaces using a detergent or soap and water before you disinfect them.
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  • Disinfect using EPA-registered disinfectant that is effective against SARS-CoV-2 [31].
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  • Provide disposable disinfecting wipes so employees can wipe down commonly used surfaces before each use.
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  • Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label.
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  • Do not mix cleaning and disinfection products together.
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  • Advise employees to always wear gloves and other PPE appropriate for the chemicals being used.
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Limit travel and advise employees who must travel to take additional precautions and preparations. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Minimize non-essential travel.
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  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices [32].
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  • Advise employees to check for symptoms of COVID-19 [6] before travel.
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  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment know what to do, including:
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    • Call a healthcare provider for advice, if needed.
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  • Notify their supervisor.
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    • Follow company policy for obtaining medical care when traveling outside the United States
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Plan meetings and gatherings [13] to lower risk. square icon square icon square icon square icon
  • Use videoconferencing or teleconferencing, when possible.
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  • Cancel, adjust, or postpone large work-related meetings or gatherings.
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  • When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible:
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    • Hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
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    • Continue to maintain 6 feet between people.
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  • Wear cloth face coverings (if appropriate) [14].
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Worker Protection Tool

for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Consider the exposure that your workers will have to potential sources of COVID-19 when you resume business operations. Use this tool to identify protective measures for interactions between workers and/or the public; revisit the tool on an ongoing basis while COVID-19 cases exist. Only complete items that apply to your business. See appendix for web resources.

Worker Protections
Worker Protections
Engineering Administrative Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Facilities and Equipment
  • Assess job hazards for potential benefit of engineering protections.
  • Ensure ventilation and water systems operate properly.
  • Alter the workspace to maintain social distancing [23]. Examples include:
    • Arrange partitions as a barrier shield.
    • Move electronic payment reader away from cashier.
    • Use verbal announcements, signs, and visual cues to promote social distancing.
    • Remove/rearrange furniture.
    • Provide remote shopping alternatives (e.g., delivery, pick-up).
Management and Communications
  • Monitor state and local public health communications about COVID-19.
  • Encourage sick workers to report symptoms, stay home, and follow CDC guidance.
  • Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks [15] (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) before employees enter the facility:
  • Develop strategies to communicate with workers and manage concerns.
  • Remind workers of available support services.
  • Communicate to partners, suppliers, and contractors on policies and practices.
  • Encourage social distancing and use of cloth face coverings (if appropriate) [14] for both employees and customers.
  • Use technology to promote social distancing (e.g., telework, virtual meetings).
  • Cancel group events.
  • Close/limit use of shared spaces.
  • Ask sick customers to stay home; post signs asking them not to enter if they are sick.
  • Consider policies that encourage flexible sick leave and alternative work schedules.
  • Schedule stocking during off-peak hours.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Develop a plan for cleaning and disinfecting [11].
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., counters, shelving, displays).
  • Provide employees with disposable disinfectant wipes, cleaner, or sprays that are effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Training

  • Provide training on:
    • Policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19
    • General hygiene
    • Symptoms, what to do if sick
    • Cleaning and disinfection
    • Cloth face covers
    • Social distancing
    • Use of PPE
    • Safe work practices
    • Stress management
PPE
  • Conduct a workplace hazard assessment.
  • Determine needed PPE for workers’ job duties based on hazards and existing protections.
  • Select and provide appropriate PPE to workers at no cost.

Keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 when returning to work

Clean your hands often

Illustration: washing hands with soap and water
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and after using others’ or shared equipment.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Practice social distancing and stay away from anyone who is sick
  • Put distance (at least 6 feet) between yourself and other people.
  • Wear cloth face coverings (if appropriate) when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. Clean and disinfect between employees if sharing occurs.
  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.

If you are at increased risk for severe illness…

Older adults and some people with medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness
  • Contact management to request special accommodations that will allow you to perform your job duties safely.
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Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking everyday preventive actions.

Resources referred to throughout the Toolkit

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  1. Social Distancing
    go.usa.gov/xvHhV
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  1. HIERARCHY OF CONTROLS
    go.usa.gov/xvHhM
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  1. Print Resources
    go.usa.gov/xv6qa
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  1. Health Promotion Materials
    go.usa.gov/xv6q4

Additional Resources