June 14, 2020In the News

A Checklist For Reopening Offices Amid COVID-19

Kane Communications Group

If you own or manage a business in Wisconsin and you’re contemplating how to reopen your company, you may feel as though you are operating in a vacuum.

Because for the most part, you are.

President Trump punted the public policy responsibilities in the COVID-19 pandemic to the governors, ignoring his administration’s own Center for Disease Control recommendations.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer At Home” executive order was challenged by the State Legislature and then overturned by the State Supreme Court.

That put the oversight responsibilities in the hands of the counties and the cities, creating a patchwork of rules and regulations throughout the state.

So, here we are in the private sector, pretty much left to our own devices and imaginations.

“Just a month ago we were perfecting the art of tech and getting to grips with working, learning and socializing safer at home, to tackle the health crisis and flatten the curve. Just weeks later (it feels a lot longer I know) leaders – governments, business, education – are digesting the data, sourcing the science and laying out plans for not just when to restart, but how. We are in the throes of reimagining a new future for work and for workers,” ManpowerGroup President and CEO Jonas Prising wrote in a recent white paper. 

Milwaukee law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP recently produced a client alert titled, “Your Stay-at-Home Order is Lifted: Now What? Returning to Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” It was designed to provide guidance as businesses consider reopening. What was once a routine office setting will likely look different amid this pandemic.

“There is no one size fits all approach,” said Attorney Kirk Pelikan, a partner at Michael Best and one of the authors of the client alert. “A lot will depend upon the type of industry and location for multiple reasons: the interaction with the public, interaction between workers, and governmental requirements will vary not just by municipality or state, but even the CDC’s guidance varies between industries like health care and meatpacking. Businesses need to … set strategy on reopening, but also to set expectations for the staff to learn and follow. What your neighbor (and) frankly what your competitor is doing, may not work for you.”

To read the full article, click here.

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