Updated 10:15a, May 9, 2020

Late Friday afternoon, Governor Lamont announced that Phase I reopenings will occur as soon as May 20, 2020.  These will include “non-essential” offices that had been closed, restaurants, retail stores and hair salons.  Early on Saturday, we also got all the detailed rules that will need to be met to reopen; we’ll have a full update on my firm’s website after a full review .

You can download the rules for offices here.

The basic outline for the reopening rules are set forth is fairly consistent with the “Safe Workplace” rules for essential workplaces and also my posts on the subject as well.

Here’s what you can look for, according to the early details released in the press conference:

  • Offices should be limited to 50 percent capacity
  • Employees should still work from home where possible
  • Meetings are subject to a five person limit
  • Employees should be seated at least six feet apart and employers should leave desks empty to encourage physical distancing
  • Employers should use physical partioning where possible
  • Elevators should be limited in capacity and in the gathering areas, physical distancing while waiting for elevator should be used
  • High contact areas and bathrooms should be cleaned frequently
  • Common areas and lobbies should also be cleaned frequently
  • Common equipment (copiers, water coolers) should be limited
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes should be at every entrance and common areas
  • Employees will be required to wear facemasks or cloth face coverings in the office, except when in a private office
  • Employers will be encouraged to increase ventilation and air flow; windows should be opened
  • Employers should segment the office into work zones so there is no mingling if possible
  • Employers should use visual distancing markers; for example, some stairwells can be designated as only “up” or “down”
  • Employers should close non-essential amenities like gyms, lounge areas
  • Employers should use staggered shift work times
  • Touchless appliances should be encouraged as well.

In the update, the Governor indicated that many businesses might choose to remain closed because of the number of requirements.  I also anticipate working from home will remain the norm for now.

Retail stores and hair salons will also have a number of requirements to follow. Restaurants will be allowed to open for outdoor seating only.  Again, I’ll have more of an update after further review.

My firm is now planning to do a full reopening planning webinar on Thursday, May 14th at noon.  Registration is now free and open.  

For those looking for more information on return to work and how to help employees with disabilities or other conditions, the Connecticut Bar Association is producing a webinar on Managing Employees with Serious Health Conditions as Businesses Reopen for Tuesday at 1 p.m.  I’ll be talking about all the return to work guidelines during this webinar.