Around the country, state and local governments are seeking to answer the same question: How and when do we reopen? We are eager to return to a sense of normalcy, but leaders must make decisions which will benefit the health and safety of all and limit the chains of transmission of COVID-19. In order to complete a phased reopening that meets these criteria, specific plans must be developed, implemented, maintained, and revised when necessary. Reopening does not and cannot mean that we simply pull back the sliding doors and continue as we did before. Now is the time to be more cautious and more considerate than ever when thinking about how to proceed, and we cannot take for granted the strides we made through social distancing and isolation. Reopening demands that we are intentional about the choices we make.
Below are some general guidelines for reopening safely. More information can be found on the CDC’s website here.
Develop and Implement a Plan
Take a walk around the space you will be reopening. Consider all the places that will need to be cleaned and disinfected, the amount of traffic in these areas, and the groups of people who will encounter them. Items with frequent use, such as door handles, desks, and phones, will need to be disinfected more often than a routine cleaning provides. Unnecessary items that invite high use could be removed. Spaces may need to be reimagined to fit these specifications.
Create a written and effective plan for cleaning all these surfaces which includes best practices. The CDC and EPA provide a list of guidelines for proper solutions to be used for disinfectant. This plan may also include safe behavior practices, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing. Structure a method for how these practices can be put into practice and consider providing masks, limiting the number of people in a room, and setting up hand-washing stations.
Maintain and Revise
This plan should be maintained and revisited often for any changes that may need to be made. Diligence is key in order to ensure that the plan continues to be effective and that it promotes safety and health. As new challenges arise, the plan must adapt.
Communication is critical to the implementation and success of the devised plan. Organize a system for communication with stakeholders that allows for both input and output. Invite other voices and include new ideas. Promoting involvement of parents, families, and stakeholders will create larger buy-in for the necessary measures being taken. A focused and clear campaign to explain the parameters of the guidelines will help to mitigate distrust, incompliance, and the spread of false information.
While we all feel a sense of urgency to return to normalcy, we have a responsibility to shape a new normal in order to protect the well-being of those around us. Creating and implementing a plan is a necessary step to reopening.
Our goal at Benee’s Inc., is to be a resource to our clients during this time of change. As always, we remain committed to providing you with customized furniture solutions, even as we are constantly adapting to the new requirements of COVID-19 preparedness. If you have an idea, Benee’s is here to help fulfill that idea – if you dream it, we can build it.