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  • Writer's pictureJennie Tannenbaum

What You Need to Know before Your Small Business Reopens

Rebecca’s hair salon was posed to open this week per the Governor’s 4 phase reopening approach in MA. It had been about two months, since the salon had been open. Meanwhile, Rebecca had not been idle. She had redone the salon menu. Installed physical safety measures to protect her employees and customers. She met with her attorney to put together a custom Reopening and Return to Work plan.

Subsequently, her attorney provided her with a written and customized Reopening and Return to Work plan. The attorney also updated the salon’s employee handbook pertaining to calling in sick, as well as drafting a new section about covid-19 to prepare her for the reopening of the salon. The Reopening and Return to Work plan was broken down into specific categories, some of those are: Pre-work Screening, Preventative Measures (physical Distancing and PPE (face coverings)), Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfecting.

Rebecca’s plan concerning Pre-work Screening included employee temperature checks and employee questionnaires to be completed prior to each shift for each employee. The plan detailed specifics as to the precise protocol to follow if the employee did not meet the requirements to return to work from these pre-work screening checks. An example is if an employee’s temperature measured 100 degrees, then that employee would be required to stay at home that day. Details included when the employee could return to work.

The part of the plan titled Preventative Measures contained detailed information about what PPE would be made available to the employees and to the customers of the salon. There was information as to how to correctly wear and use the ppe to ensure that everyone was protected while in the salon receiving services. Face coverings and face shields was a part of this plan. Physical Distancing was addressed in this part of the plan which covered how shifts would be staggered as well as details about maintaining distancing in the break room and the salon in general.

Other parts of the plan included Hygiene broken down into the basics of hand washing and what to do when someone has sneezed or coughed.

Cleaning and Disinfecting completed the plan by detailing how often, with what types of equipment to use and when it should be done.

Rebecca and her attorney discussed how to address situations with those employees with preexisting underlying health conditions that may place them at a higher risk of contracting the virus. This was of particular concern to her, since she knew that she had an employee who has asthma.

Because asthma is a condition that is recognized by the federal ADA (American with Disabilities Act) that employee has a right to seek an accommodation from their employer. If this employee seeks an accommodation from Rebecca, she must engage in an interactive dialogue with the employee to determine what accommodations are available to the employee. Possible accommodations in this situations may be changing her work schedule to specific adjustments to the workplace.

Because the Reopening and Return to Work plan was established and she knew what exactly to do if an employee were to contract the virus as well as what to do when an employee felt that it was unsafe to return to work, Rebecca was ready and anticipating with excitement the reopening of the salon to her customers.

If you find yourself preparing to reopen your business with employees returning to work, it is best to contact Simply Good Law to prepare a Reopening and Return to Work plan rather than chance handling the matter on your own and facing a potential lawsuit in the future.

This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to be construed as legal advice. For more information or discussion contact me at or at 978-681-0017.

Photo Credit: Lauren Fleishmann

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