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Phased Reopening Guidelines: How to Stay Safe and Compliant

Over the weekend, the Governor’s office revised certain portions of Kentucky’s Healthy-at-Work phased reopening minimum guidelines for all businesses,  outlining the affirmative duties of both employers and employees upon returning to work on-site. All businesses – even those that have remained open – will have to adhere to these fourteen requirements in order to remain open: 

  1. Continue telework where possible
  2. Institute a phased return to work
  3. Enforce social distancing of your employees and visitors
  4. Limit face-to-face interactions
  5. Provide masks, and if duties require touching high contact items, gloves, to all employees and ensure that employees, volunteers and contractors utilize PPE appropriate to your business. Encourage customers to wear masks. 
  6. Provide adequate hand sanitizer and encourage hand washing
  7. Restrict common areas
  8. Properly sanitize frequently touched areas in accordance with CDC guidelines
  9. Conduct daily health screens and temperature checks of all employees entering building
  10. Create a testing plan that ensures isolation, health care testing, and reporting of any employees with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 symptoms while at work.
  11. Make special accommodations for high risk employees and customers
  12. Designate a “Healthy-at-Work” officer for compliance
  13. Educate and train employees
  14. Be aware of contact tracing responsibilities.
The new guidance provides important clarification on health and temperature screenings as well as contact tracing obligations. Here is what businesses need to know on those two areas:
Conducting Health Screens and Temperature Checks
Beginning Monday, May 11, 2020, all businesses must have in place a procedure to conduct either on-site or a self-screen for any employee coming to the worksite each day. There is specific guidance for on-site screenings contained in the Healthy-At-Work plan, but many businesses will choose to allow employees to self-screen for practical purposes. These self-screens will require each employee to report to the employer the following confidential information:
  • Have you had any of the following symptoms since your last day at work or the last time you were here: 
    • Cough             Yes _____      No _____
    • Shortness of breath      Yes _____      No _____
    • Fever (above 100.4)      Yes _____      No _____
    • Chills            Yes _____      No _____
    • Muscle Pain         Yes _____      No _____
    • Sore Throat         Yes _____      No _____
    • New loss of taste or smell   Yes _____      No _____
  • Is there anyone in your household who is showing COVID-19 symptoms or who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?   Yes _____      No _____

  • Have you been in close contact with anyone exhibiting signs or symptoms of fever, persistent cough or shortness of breath consistent with COVID-19 who has not been tested or is still awaiting testing?   Yes _____      No _____
  • Was your temperature today above 100.4?    Yes _____      No _____
If an employee answers “Yes” to any of these questions, they will not be allowed to report to work, unless cleared by a medical professional. Employees should self-isolate and follow the current guidelines regarding what to do if you are sick. Employers must make sure that their policy and procedure manual has been updated to account for the need for either telework, paid time off or unpaid time off in light of an employee’s report under the health screening. 
More importantly, however, businesses that elect to allow employees to self-screen will have to create a process and policy for reporting the results of the screen to a confidential source, and retain those records in case called upon by a government agency or health department for information. A verbal report will not suffice. 
Contact Tracing Requirements
In order to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to increase the success of the Healthy-at-Work initiative, if an employee reports a positive COVID-19 test, or reports exposure to COVID-19, contact tracing will be implemented. Businesses will be asked to assist public health officials in contact tracing. This assistance will include the identification of each and every individual with whom that presumptively positive employee came into contact during the workday. As a general guideline, employers are being asked to keep detailed daily logs containing the names of the individuals on each shift, work locations, meetings, and in-person third party contacts. 
This obligation requires businesses to take steps now to maintain daily records to answer this information if called upon to do so. Beginning today, businesses should create systems to be able to conduct contact tracing.
Training and Education
Inherent in implementing new policies and procedures is the need to train and educate your workforce. This training should include an overview of the Governor’s fourteen points and how your business will operate within each of those guidelines. Specifically, the training should also cover the following topics: (1) identification and role of the “Healthy-at-Work” officer; (2) explanation of the health screen process and procedure; (3) explanation of action to be taken with the health screen; (4) review of leave policies; and (5) availability and use of PPE.
Employees must be encouraged to be candid in their responses, and understand that they cannot be retaliated against for following policies or reporting violations. However, they should also be informed that a failure to follow these policies could result in disciplinary action. 
The phased re-opening will require efforts on the part of all Kentucky businesses. We recommend that you review the minimum requirements immediately and put a plan in place to stay open, stay safe, and stay in compliance. 

For more assistance with preparing to re-open, contact our COVID-19 Response Team.

Cindy Effinger

Cynthia L. Effinger, Member with McBrayer, is located in the firm’s Louisville office. Ms. Effinger’s practice is concentrated in the areas of employment law and commercial litigation. Her employment law practice is focused on drafting employment manuals and policies, social media, wage and hour, non-compete agreements and workplace discrimination. Ms. Effinger can be reached at ceffinger@mcbrayerfirm.com or (502) 327-5400, ext. 2316.

Jaron Blandford

Jaron Blandford is a member of McBrayer and is located in the firm’s Lexington office. Mr. Blandford focuses his practice on civil litigation with an emphasis in all areas of labor and employment law. He can be reached at jblandford@mcbrayerfirm.com or (859) 231-8780, ext. 1252.

Claire Vujanovic

Claire M. Vujanovic, member with McBrayer, is located in the firm's Louisville office.  Ms. Vujanovic's practice is concentrated in the areas of labor and employment law and includes NLRA compliance, drafting and reviewing employment manuals and policies, drafting severance, non-compete and employment agreements, and counseling clients related to overtime and wage and hour regulations, laws and claims and workplace discrimination.  Ms. Vujanovic can be reached at cvujanovic@mcbrayerfirm.com or (502) 327-5400, ext. 2322.  

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This article does not constitute legal advice.

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