COVID-19 continues to have a major negative impact on the nation’s economy. Many businesses continue to struggle. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the U.S. economy lost over 20 million jobs in April with the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression.
The New York Times provides an interactive guide showing each state’s stage of opening and reported more than half the states have started to reopen their economies in some meaningful way or have plans to do so soon, raising concerns among public health experts about a possible surge in new infections and deaths.
The guide reveals that businesses in many states are reopening but under restrictions, such as allowing fewer customers, adding social distancing measures, and requiring workers and customers to wear masks.
Rhode Island’s 3 Phase Plan to Reopen
Many states are currently working on guidelines to assist businessowners and residents safely open their business and begin to return to some form of normalcy.
Rhode Island recently released its comprehensive plan – REOPENING RI: CHARTING THE COURSE
The plan consists of three phases to weather the storm and begin to reopen the economy. Here are some highlights from the plan:
Phase 1: Testing the Water
The stay at home order is lifted, but social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Older adults (65+) and those with underlying health conditions can go to work and go out for food or medicine. But in accordance with federal public health guidance, vulnerable individuals are strongly encouraged to otherwise stay home.
Phase 2: Navigating Our Way
In the second phase, more businesses are reopening, and restrictions are further relaxed. Expanded childcare options will be available under strict public health guidelines. More restaurants, retail and close-contact businesses like hair and nail salons may open. Additional recreational options will likely return including more parks and beaches, but restrictions remain. Social gathering limits increase to 15 people.
Phase 3: Picking Up Speed
Schools begin reopening with restrictions. Offices, restaurants, retail and other businesses will lift some of the tightest restrictions to allow more people in at one time but will need to operate under long-term safety guidelines. Social gatherings are limited to 50 people. Older adults (65+) and those with underlying health conditions are no longer strongly encouraged to stay home.
In all phases, masks, vigilant hand-washing and increased cleaning must remain in place. And everyone who can work from home should still work from home. All activities must account for strong social distancing guidelines of remaining 6-feet apart.
Phase I: General Business Guideline Highlights
New measures are being put into place for businesses to reopen in Rhode Island. They are asking businesses to develop a plan to keep their workers, customers, and visitors safe, which includes:
COVID-19 Control Plan
All businesses, including those that are currently operating, develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how their workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. Businesses may obtain a template for the COVID-19 Control Plan here
Businesses must screen all entrants for self-reported symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and other COVID-19 risk factors upon entering the building. Screenings can be conducted verbally, by app, by phone, or by another method of the employer’s choosing.
Additional Information and Guidelines
Below are important links on guidelines for businesses and organizations to begin reopening in Rhode Island:
General Workplace Guidelines
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.