2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The outbreak first started in China, but the virus continues to spread internationally and in the United States. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other characteristics of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available on CDC’s web page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/. CDC will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.
This interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings (separate guidance is available for healthcare settings). CDC has also provided guidance for critical infrastructure workers who may have had exposure to a person known or suspected to have COVID-19. Unless otherwise specified, this interim guidance for businesses and employers applies to critical infrastructure workplaces as well.
Role of Businesses and Employers in Responding to COVID-19
Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 within the workplace. Employers should respond in a way that takes into account the level of disease transmission in their communities and revise their business response plans as needed. Employers should follow the White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Againexternal icon, a phased approach based on current levels of transmission and healthcare capacity at the state or local level, as part of resuming business operations. Business operation decisions should be based on both the level of disease transmission in the community and your readiness to protect the safety and health of your employees and customers.
Businesses and employers are encouraged to coordinate with stateexternal icon and localexternal icon health officials to obtain timely and accurate information to inform appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. CDC has guidance for mitigation strategiespdf icon according to the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.
As an employer, if your business operations were interrupted, resuming normal or phased activities presents an opportunity to update your COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plans. All employers should implement and update as necessary a plan that:
- Is specific to your workplace,
- identifies all areas and job tasks with potential exposures to COVID-19, and
- includes control measures to eliminate or reduce such exposures.
Talk with your employees about planned changes and seek their input. Additionally, collaborate with employees and unions to effectively communicate important COVID-19 information.
See the OSHA COVID-19 guidancepdf iconexternal icon for more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures, according to their exposure risk. Plans should consider that employees may be able to spread COVID-19 even if they do not show symptoms.
All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in your workplace. This should include activities to:
- prevent and reduce transmission among employees,
- maintain healthy business operations, and
- maintain a healthy work environment.c