The CDC doesn’t have a specific definition of “prolonged contact” or “close contact,” unfortunately, because there isn't enough info about Coronavirus yet. Recommendations vary on the length of time of exposure from 10 minutes or more to 30 minutes or more. Brief interactions are less likely to result in transmission; however, symptoms and the type of interaction (e.g., did the person cough directly into the face of the individual) remain important. In a business setting, we’re recommending 30 minutes (with the input of our contacts of the CDC), unless you know that someone coughed directly on another employee, for example, in which case you might exclude even if the contact was short.
We recommend assigning someone to be the cleaner for each shift, and asking them to do it at least every half hour. It takes up a lot of time when done right, but it’s a great use of time during low-volume days.
Although best practice continues to be a 14 day quarantine for anyone who has traveled by plane, train or cruise ship, that is beginning to change. Many individual states have their requirements and it is important to check the latest travel and quarantine restrictions for the destination state. For example, Texas had quarantine requirements for those traveling from Louisiana which expired, and then they added new quarantine requirements from designated “Hot Spots” - currently defined as NY, IL, CA and LA.
You should treat any upper respiratory issues as if they are COVID for the time being. Keep the employee out for at least 7 days, including at least 3 fever-free without medication and with symptoms improving. For many folks, that will end up coming out to more than 7 days. Make sure they’ve been feeling better and have no fever for at least 3 days before they come back to work.
Really good question and a very challenging one which will require consulting your legal counsel and compliance folks. Know your state and local regulations - many of them might preclude you from opening if you don’t have the capacity to take employee temperatures, for example. However, there are legal nuances between guidance, executive orders, regulations and state law.
It’s also important to think about the cost-benefit analysis. If you open without those supplies and then have a sick employee or guest, will you be able to remain open? Then there’s also employee anxiety in play - many of our employees are very nervous to come back to work, and making sure they feel comfortable is an important part of your reopening plan. You don’t want something going around on social media about how under-prepared your business is.
A new term, social bubbles, was introduced this week in Belgium which could modify social distancing for many. Here's how it works…
The CDC should actually just have M*A*S*H do all it’s PSAs from here on out…