Gov. Jay Inslee announced rollbacks to some activities to slow COVID-19 exposure in Washington State. Changes are being made to Washington’s “Safe Start” phased approach to reopening. The changes target activities that data have shown provide a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure.
It has been four months since the governor announced the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Since then, cases in Washington have risen from 2,000 to almost 50,000, and deaths have increased from 110 to nearly 1,500.
To combat the rising numbers, the governor and Secretary of Health John Wiesman are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.
“We do not take these steps lightly. We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners,” Inslee said during a press conference. “But we know that if we fail to act, we expose people and businesses to even greater risk down the line.”
Read the rest of the story on rollbacks to some activities on the governor’s Medium page.
Requirements for All Employers
The full details of the Safe Start Washington – Phased Reopening County-by-County plan is available here. The following is an outline of the requirements for employers under this plan. For all of the fine-point details, refer to the Safe Start document. In all phases – Employers are required to:
- Provide (at no cost to employees) cloth facial coverings to employees, unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under the Department of Labor & Industries’ safety and health rules and guidance. Since June 8, all employees have been required to wear a cloth facial covering, consistent with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ COVID-19 workplace safety and health rules and guidance.
- Cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of cases, suspected cases, outbreaks, and suspected outbreaks of COVID-19; cooperate with the implementation of infection control measures, including but not limited to isolation and quarantine and environmental cleaning; and comply with all public health authority orders and directives.
- Notify the local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if it is suspected that COVID-19 is spreading in the workplace, or if you 2 or more employees develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.
- Keep a safe and healthy facility in accordance with state and federal law, and comply with COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices.
- Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission, and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.
- Maintain minimum six-foot separation between all employees (and customers) in all interactions at all times. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required, such as use of barriers, minimizing staff or customers in narrow or enclosed areas, and staggering breaks and work shift starts.
- Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use disposable gloves where safe and applicable to prevent virus transmission on tools or other items that are shared.
- Establish a housekeeping schedule that includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces
- Screen employees for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at the start of their shift. Make sure sick employees stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick. Cordon off any areas where an employee with probable or confirmed COVID-19 illness worked, touched surfaces, etc. until the area and equipment is cleaned and sanitized. Follow the cleaning guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control to deep clean and sanitize.
- Post a sign requiring customers to wear cloth facial coverings, and prominently display it at the entrance to the business so that it is immediately noticeable to all customers entering the store.
- Follow requirements in Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46 High-Risk Employees – Workers’ Rights.
Businesses are also required to implement any health and safety requirements developed specifically for
More Information for Workers
If you have questions or concerns about exposure to the Coronavirus on-the-job and how the workers’ compensation process will work, feel free to contact our firm for assistance.
For more detail about the rollbacks to some activities: