To ensure San Diego is ready to safely reopen as soon as state orders are lifted, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and County Supervisor and Board Chairman Greg Cox on May 4 introduced guidelines developed by industry and workforce leaders to prepare the region to restart economic activity. The guidance can be used by restaurants, hair and nail salons, and other businesses planning to safely reopen their doors.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors on May 5 voted to adopt the Business Safety Framework, a general outline for local businesses highlighting the things they need to prepare for and do before they could reopen. The supervisors also requested that the County’s chief administrative officer ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide the County with the autonomy to make region-related, COVID-19 decisions.
Starting Friday, May 8, some local businesses can begin to reopen if they have a plan in place to protect their employees and the public. The goal of the framework is for businesses to be ready to reopen when authorized by the governor, who is expected to announce guidance on May 7.
But before businesses can reopen, they need to create a Safe Reopening Plan. A template is available now to review at sandiegocounty.gov, but may be updated depending on direction from the state. Businesses will need to complete, print and post the plan at their entrance.
They also must ensure proper sanitation, physical distancing and general business practices and communication.
The governor announced that retail and manufacturing businesses with curbside pick-up will be allowed to reopen because they represent a lower risk of spreading COVID-19. Among them are bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists, and sporting goods.
"San Diego is ready to recover, and is preparing for a reopening that's safe, strategic and specific to our diverse industries. These guidelines will help get the economy back on its feet and get San Diegans back to work when state and regional orders are lifted," Faulconer said. "Businesses can use these strategies to get a head start on their reopening plans. We have one goal: protect employees, customers and the public."
The City’s recommended strategies come from the Responsible COVID-19 Economic Reopening (RECOVER) Advisory Group, which was established on April 17. Cox and Faulconer created the group to give voice to businesses and their employees, and to plan for the unique needs of the region’s diverse industries.
"This proposal will take input from the RECOVER group and from others to create a framework to safely reopen non-essential businesses when the time comes," said Cox. "This will be a starting point for what we expect will be a long, evolving return to business for San Diegans."
The RECOVER Advisory Group guidelines provide steps a business can take when creating a health and safety plan specific to its daily operations, customer base and employee needs. Businesses can consider adopting these recommended strategies, in coordination with forthcoming guidance from public health officials, to secure the safety of customers and workers.
The plan includes five focus areas and a checklist of corresponding actions, which have been recommended by the RECOVER Advisory Group with input from County Public Health officials. They include:
· Employee health: Require personal protection equipment (PPE) for employees and commit to voluntary compliance with public health officials on contact tracing and testing.
· Safe worksite entry: Establish controlled entrance and exit practices to avoid queuing issues and work with the Public Health Department to create processes for employee symptom checks.
· Workplace distancing and conditions: Evaluate occupancy and capacity to ensure proper physical distancing and keep shifts consistent with the same employees in each rotation or shift.
· Employee training and compliance: Ensure signage on safety requirements, such as hand washing, physical distancing and reporting procedures for employees who become ill.
· Enhanced cleaning and sanitation: Develop a sanitation plan that includes frequent cleaning of restrooms, workstations, and public spaces.
The RECOVER Advisory Group also provided enhanced guidance specific to various industries, including restaurants, wellness facilities, attractions and tourism, commercial real estate, construction, and hospitality.
“When business reopens it’s going to look and feel different than what any of us were used to. It’s important that our businesses have the guidance to ensure the safety of employees and customers, so they can stay open for the long term,” said president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Jerry Sanders.
“Our goal in creating these guidelines was to provide businesses with the framework to start planning now for reopening so when the time comes that it is safe to do so, business can open safely and swiftly, and be set-up for long term success,” Sanders said.
These industry-specific strategies are in various stages of development, pending final clearance from appropriate public health agencies.
This binational and bipartisan group of nearly 30 industry experts and civic leaders, representing tens of thousands of businesses and workers, has been meeting frequently over the last two weeks to prepare strategies on how businesses can prepare to safely reopen. Members of the RECOVER Advisory Group will continue to provide input as public health and safety professionals consider these strategies for implementation.