COVID-19 is having a major impact of the economy. Unemployment rates are at an all-time high. With the rate of infections seeming to be flattening across the country, states are beginning implement their reopening plans. While there is no question the economy needs to be restarted to help families and businesses improve their financial situation, the balancing act will be in keeping people safe while businesses begin to reopen.
The long-awaited plan developed by Gov. Charlie Baker provides a measured, four-phase approach that is intended to do just that.
MA Four Phase Plan Overview
- Phase One – Start
- Phase Two – Cautious
- Phase 3 – Vigilant
- Phase 4 – New Normal
Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks and could last longer before moving to the next phase. It is noted that work from home when available is still in place, along with masks, proper hygiene, and social distancing. The Governor’s Office has provided a detailed overview of the Four Phase Plan here.
Here is a summary of what will begin to open during Phase One:
- Places of worship with guidelines and outdoor services are encouraged
- Essential businesses, manufacturing, and construction
- Hospitals and community health centers can start with high priority preventative care and treatment for high-risk patients
- Public transit riders on the MBTA will be required to wear masks
On May 25, other business will begin to open with restrictions
- Personal services – hair salons, barbershops, pet grooming (curbside drop off/pick up) – all by appointment only
- Car washes – exterior washing only
- Laboratories and life sciences facilities
- Offices (not in Boston) but must be less than 25% maximum occupancy; work from home strongly encouraged
- Retail for remote services and curbside pick up
- Beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, athletic fields and courts, outdoor adventure activities, most fishing, hunting, and boating, along with outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves and public installations – all with guidelines
- Day Care: Childcare operating at reduced capacity and on an emergency basis for children of workers with no safe alternative to group care
June 1 will include:
- Offices in Boston
MA Construction Industry Reopening Plan and Guidelines
Construction sites in MA were permitted to reopen on May 18 with strict guidelines to follow. Broken into four sections, below are mandatory safety standards, recommended best practices and a link to a checklist for the construction sector.
Below are some pertinent highlights of the main areas of focus:
Enforcement and Oversight
- A site-specific COVID-19 Officer (who may also be the Health and Safety Officer) shall be designated for every site
- Develop and submit a site-specific risk analysis and enhanced COVID-19 safety plan for large, complicated construction projects a city or town
- For all projects undertaken, managed or funded by a state agency or authority there shall be joint enforcement responsibility between the project’s public Owner and the city or town where the project is located
- Cities and towns are authorized to enforce the COVID-19 Construction Safety Guidance
- Cities and towns may enforce the safety and distance protocols. Failure to comply may result in a pause of construction activities until a corrective action plan is prepared, submitted and approved by the city or town
- The city or town may require the Owner of a large, complicated private project to pay for an independent, third party inspector or inspection firm
Employee Health Protection – ZERO Tolerance
- Zero tolerance for sick workers reporting to work. If you are sick, stay home! If you feel sick, go
Home! If you see someone sick, send them home!
- Self-certify prior to shift
Prior to starting a shift, each employee will self-certify to their supervisor that they:
- Have no signs of a fever or a measured temperature above 100.3 degrees or greater, a cough or trouble breathing within the past 24 hours
- Have not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic
- Have not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
The Mandatory Safety Standards is a comprehensive checklist of numerous safety protocols that need to be enforced. Below is a sample of the protocols and include:
- No handshaking
- Wash hands often – wash stations are required
- Lock down officed to all but authorized personnel
- Each jobsite should develop cleaning and decontamination procedures that are posted and shared. These Procedures must cover all areas including trailers, gates, equipment, vehicles, etc. and shall be posted at all entry points to the sites, and throughout the project site
- A “No Congregation” policy is in effect, individuals must implement social distancing by maintaining a minimum distance of 6-feet from other individuals
- Avoid face to face meetings
- Conduct all meetings via conference calls, if possible. Do not convene meetings of more than 10 people.
- All individual work crew meetings / tailgate talks should be held outside and follow social distancing
- Please keep all crews at a minimum of 6 feet apart
- At each job briefing ask all employees if they are experiencing any symptoms, if so, send them home
- Each jobsite should have laminated COVID-19 safety guidelines and handwashing instructions
- All restroom facilities / porta-potties should be cleaned and handwashing stations must be provided with soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels
- All surfaces should be regularly cleaned, including surfaces, door handles, laptops, etc.
- All common areas and meeting areas are to be regularly cleaned and disinfected at least once a day but preferably twice a day
- Be sure to use your own water bottle, and do not share
Worker Infection Protocol
There is a zero tolerance for sick workers reporting to work. Employees should be instructed that even those with mild symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) or fever should stay off work.
The Contractor shall work with the local board of health to identify any potential job site exposures. Upon learning of an infection, the contractor must immediately notify the designated COVID-19 safety officer, the site safety officer, and the owner. After a worker with COVID-19 related symptoms has been asked to leave the job site, the contractor shall take immediate steps to sanitize common areas and direct work places
View the entire, lengthy list of protocols here: MA Construction Mandatory Safety Standards
We Can Help You Reopen Safely
Our bundled COVID 19 /Coronavirus services system allows for quickly screening and detecting individuals with an elevated temperature. Utilizing a thermal thermometer in conjunction with our mobile app, we provide a solution that will alert employers and the workforce when a scanned person’s temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold, allowing for immediate intervention and protective measures.
We have furthered our efforts by creating a COVID 19 Training Webinars. We offer Open Enrollment Classes and Private Company Sponsored Classes made available at your convenience.
If you need assistance in your plan to reopen your business, please contact us today to learn more.