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COVID-19 Reopening and Returning to Work FAQs

COVID-19 Reopening and Returning to Work FAQs

To help small businesses with their return-to-work plans and protect their employees, provide guidance and support with answers to their most commonly asked questions.

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COVID-19 Reopening and Returning to Work FAQs


California's "Resilience Roadmap"

California's "Resilience Roadmap"

What is California’s “Resilience Roadmap”?

On May 4 Governor Newsom announced the state government’s plan – the Resilience Roadmap – to gradually reopen businesses. 

California statewide is currently in Stage 2 – the limited reopening of lower-risk businesses that began May 8, 2020. 

 

Helpful Resources 

California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response 

Updated 05/26/2020
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What’s the latest news on business reopening, statewide and county-by-county?

Below is the latest news on business reopening, statewide and county-by-county. Get the reopening status for any particular county at its public health department website (list here).

June 15

San Francisco Enters Latest Phase of Reopening (NBC Bay Area)

June 12

Alameda County To Reopen Outdoor Dining, Houses Of Worship, Indoor Retail June 19 (CBS SF Bay Area)

June 6

California sets rules for counties to progress to third reopening phase, including bars and gyms, as Bay Area remains on its own timeline (SF Chronicle)

June 5

Contra Costa to Reopen Outdoor Dining, Pools, Religious Services (Contra Costa Health Services)

Napa County reopens wineries; Sonoma County greenlights indoor dining, wineries, retail (SF Chronicle)

Hair Salons, Indoor Dining to Open in Sonoma County (NBC Bay Area)

June 2

Contra Costa County Stores, Offices Can Reopen Wednesday Under New Order (NBC Bay Area)

June 1

Santa Clara County Loosens Coronavirus Restrictions (NBC Bay Area)

May 29

San Mateo County churches, retail stores, beaches to reopen on June 1 with restrictions (CBS SF Bay Area)

Marin County allows outdoor retail, office space, outdoor dining to reopen on June 1 (ABC 7 News)

May 28

San Francisco Mayor Breed announces relaxed rules for Phase 2B will go into effect June 15 (CBS SF Bay Area)

May 26 

Santa Cruz County allows office workspaces, in-store retail to open (Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

Barbershops and hair salons allowed to reopen in much of California (SF ChronicleCNBC) 

May 25 

Governor Newson issues plan for California places of worship to reopen (SF Chronicle) 

May 22 

Sonoma County Wineries Reopen with Restrictions (NBC Bay Area) 

May 19 

State approves Napa County to reopen dine-in restaurants, shopping malls (SF Chronicle) 

Updated 06/16/2020
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What types of businesses are currently permitted to reopen?

Both the LA Times and SF Chronicle publish helpful guides on the status of business reopening across the state. Many local Chambers of Commerce also provide up-to-date information. Both the US Chamber of Commerce and California Chamber of Commerce publish directories of local Chambers of Commerce.

Updated 06/05/2020
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Which counties are permitted to re-open faster than others?

California statewide is currently in Stage 2 of the Resilience Roadmap – the limited reopening of lower-risk businesses. 

Many California counties have received state approval to move faster into Stage 2, permitting these counties to re-open additional types of businesses. 

Individual counties may have additional rules. Links to local public health departments can be found here. 

Many local Chambers of Commerce also provide up-to-date information on local conditions. Both the US Chamber of Commerce and California Chamber of Commerce publish directories of local Chambers of Commerce.

 

Helpful Resources 

California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response 

Updated 06/16/2020
(view full answer)

Local conditions

Local conditions

Where can I find the website for a particular county’s public health department?

In addition to the California state government’s guidelines for business reopening, individual counties may have additional criteria, guidelines and rules for reopening.

The websites of each county’s public health department can be found here. 

Updated 06/05/2020
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Where can I find the website for a local Chamber of Commerce?

Many local Chambers of Commerce provide up-to-date information on local conditions, and reopening and return to work guidance for local businesses.

Both the US Chamber of Commerce and California Chamber of Commerce publish directories of local Chambers of Commerce.

Updated 06/05/2020
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Returning Employees to Work

Returning Employees to Work

What return-to-work checklists are available for employers?

Here are some checklists published by credible industry organizations: 

 

COVID-19 Back-to-Work Checklist (Society for HR Management, SHRM) 

Return to Work Checklist (Think HR) 

Return to Business and Post-Pandemic Planning Checklist (Seyfarth Shaw) 

COVID-19: Return-to-Work Checklist (Fenwick & West)

Updated 05/26/2020
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HR Compliance

HR Compliance

What resources are available to help employers stay HR compliant?

Claremont partners Mammoth HR (with Think HR) and Paylocity both have very helpful resources to help HR and Payroll teams stay compliant as their business re-open and they return employees to work: 

Mammoth HR (with Think HR) 

Paylocity  

Updated 05/31/2020
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Health Benefits

Health Benefits

How can the health benefits that small businesses offer their employees help them as they return their teams to the workplace?

As they return their teams to the workplace, employers want to ensure that employees remain healthy, secure and productive. The health benefits they offer their employees can help. Employers should communicate the value of their benefits to returning employees, and should consider adding these if not part of their current offering:

  • Telehealth. All major carriers have temporarily enhanced their telehealth benefits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, some carrier plans offer comprehensive telehealth benefits as part of the regular schedule of benefits.
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Many employers will have an EAP bundled with one of their existing lines of coverage. For those that don’t, EAPs are available both on a stand-alone basis and often as an additional benefit alongside life and disability coverage.
  • Mental health and wellness. All major carriers provide value-add wellness programs, and have expanded their mental health offerings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Disability Insurance. Especially during this time, disability coverage helps employees feel that they and their families will be protected if they have to be out of work due to illness or injury.
  • Remote work and emergency response benefits. These account-based benefits help employees stay productive and financially secure.

Each of your client’s needs is situational. Contact us for assistance in evaluating the benefits offerings that best meet their needs.

Updated 06/15/2020
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What health benefits concerns should employers be considering as they reopen and return employees to work?

Employers should ensure that employees are aware of the enhancements to benefits and coverage that carriers have introduced in response to COVID-19: 

  • Waiving of cost sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment. 
  • Telehealth availability and waiving of cost sharing. 
  • Pharmacy: Waiving of early refill limits and availability of no-cost home delivery. 

Most carriers’ COVID-19 enhanced benefits have expiry dates. Employers should ensure that employees are aware of these. Our COVID-19 Carrier Response Guides provide a helpful summary of each carrier’s actions in these areas. 

Employers should also communicate to employees the benefits currently available to them and how best to use them, including: 

Most carriers are providing helpful resources for members on coverage and access to care. (e.g. Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare)

Employers may want to consider additional benefits to help employees, including emergency response benefits such as Section 139 accounts. 

Employers will want to ensure any recent and upcoming changes to benefits are made in a compliant manner. For example: 

  • Reinstatement of benefits/ waiting periods. If an employee’s coverage was terminated during a layoff or furlough, the employer will need to determine if the employee is immediately eligible for benefits on return to work or if the employee needs to complete a new waiting period. 

Benefits compliance concerns will largely be situational. Contact Claremont for assistance. 

 

Claremont Insurance Services and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. 

Updated 05/27/2020
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Managing Remote Teams

Managing Remote Teams

What resources are available to help employers manage teams that are working remotely?

As businesses reopen, some employees will be asking if they can continue to work from home. Below are some helpful resources for employers looking at their remote work policies and practices. 

Mammoth HR (with Think HR) 

 Paylocity 

 Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) 

 HR Morning 

 Upwork 

Updated 05/31/2020
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Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety

Where can an employer find industry-specific reopening guidance?

The California state government provides guidance for these industries: 

  • Agriculture and Livestock 
  • Auto Dealerships 
  • Child Care 
  • Communications Infrastructure 
  • Construction 
  • Delivery Services 
  • Energy and Utilities 
  • Food Packing 
  • Hotels and Lodging 
  • Life Sciences 
  • Limited Services 
  • Logistics and Warehousing Facilities 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Mining and Logging 
  • Outdoor Museums 
  • Office Workspaces 
  • Ports 
  • Public Transit and Intercity Passenger Rail 
  • Real Estate Transactions 
  • Retail

 

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidance for specific worker groups and their employers:  

  • Healthcare 
  • Dentistry 
  • Emergency Response and Public Safety 
  • Postmortem Care 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Meat and Poultry Processing 
  • Laboratories 
  • Airline Operations 
  • Retail Operations 
  • Border Protection and Transportation Security 
  • Correctional Facility Operations 
  • Solid Waste and Wastewater Management 
  • Environmental (i.e., Janitorial) Services 
  • In-Home Repair Services 
  • Business Travelers 

 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has guidance for the following industries: 

 

and Health and Safety Steps for Specific Occupations: 

  • Aircraft Maintenance Workers 
  • Airline Catering Kitchen Workers 
  • Airline Catering Truck Drivers 
  • Airline Customer Service and Gate Agents 
  • Airport Baggage and Cargo Handlers 
  • Airport Custodial Staff 
  • Airport Passenger Assistance Workers 
  • Airport Retail or Food Service Workers 
  • Bus Transit Operators 
  • Construction Workers 
  • Food and Grocery Pick-up and Delivery Drivers 
  • Grocery and Food Retail Workers 
  • Long-Haul Truck Drivers 
  • Mail and Parcel Delivery Drivers 
  • Manufacturing Workers and Employers 
  • Maritime Pilots 
  • Meat and Poultry Processors 
  • Rail Transit Operators 
  • Rideshare, Taxi, Limo, and Other Passenger Drivers 
  • School Nutrition Professionals and Volunteers 
  • Transit Maintenance Workers 
  • Transit Station Workers 
  • Waste Collectors and Recyclers 

 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services. 

 

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) maintains industry-specific guidance for businesses to safely reopen: 

  • At-Home Service Providers 
  • Bar Industry 
  • Business Services 
  • Childcare Centers 
  • Construction 
  • General Office Settings 
  • Gyms and Workout Facilities 
  • Hair and Nail Salons 
  • Retail 
  • Restaurants 
  • Rideshare, Taxi, Limo, and other Passenger Drivers-for-Hire 
  • Small Manufacturing, Repair and Maintenance Shops 
  • Small and Medium Sports and Entertainment Venues 
  • Worship Services and Religious Gatherings 
  • Warehouse and Logistics Industry 

Updated 05/26/2020
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Where can an employer find a consultant to help them?

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) maintains a Consultants Listing where employers can find local industrial hygiene and environmental health consultants. 

Updated 05/26/2020
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Carrier Resources

Carrier Resources

Are carriers providing guidance for reopening and returning employees to work?

Yes. Here are helpful carrier guides for reopening and returning employees to work:  

Humana 

Kaiser Permanente 

UnitedHealthcare 

Updated 05/26/2020
(view full answer)

The answers provided are a best interpretation of the information available as of the date posted. The answers are for informational purposes and should not be construed as tax or legal advice.