The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines to help employers decide whether or when to reopen their businesses.

The guidance, drafted as decision trees, was intended for six sectors: schoolsworkplacesrestaurants and barsyouth programs and campschild care programs, and mass transit.

The guidelines include a series of questions on reopening to determine whether a business is ready.

For example, it asks:

If the answer to either question is no, do not open.

Reopening Steps

If the answer is yes, the guidelines then direct employers to another series of questions on whether recommended health and safety steps are in place.

These include:

  • Promoting healthy hygiene including frequent hand washing
  • Having employees wearing face masks
  • Encouraging social distancing including through changing layouts, using physical barriers, closing communal spaces, and staggering shifts
  • Training employees on health and safety protocols

If the business meets the safeguards, it can reopen.

If not, it should stay closed until implementing the safeguards.


Reopened businesses should also ensure ongoing monitoring is in place, the CDC recommends.

These steps include:

  • Having procedures to check employees daily on arrival for signs and symptoms of illness
  • Encouraging anyone sick to stay home
  • Planning for a sick employee and having flexible sick and leave policies
  • Communicating regularly with local authorities and sharing that information with employees
  • Consulting with local authorities if there are cases in your facility

CDC Example Controls to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Work Environments

EngineeringAdministrativePersonal Protective Equipment
Facilities and Equipment

  • Assess job hazards for feasibility of engineering controls
  • Ensure ventilation and water systems operate properly
  • Alter workspaces to maintain social distancing. Examples include:
    --Configure partitions as a barrier shield
    --Move electronic payment reader away from cashier
    --Use verbal announcements, signage, and visual cues to promote social distancing
    --Remove/rearrange furniture
    --Provide remote shopping alternatives (e.g., delivery, pick-up)
  • Management and Communications

  • Monitor state and local public health communications about COVID-19
  • Encourage sick workers to report symptoms, stay home, and follow CDC guidance
  • Develop strategies to:
    --manage worker concerns
    --communicate with workers
  • Remind workers of available support services
  • Communicate to partners, suppliers, other contractors on policies and practices
  • Encourage social distancing and the use of cloth face coverings (if appropriate) in the workplace
  • Use technology to promote social distancing (e.g., telework and virtual meetings)
  • Cancel group events
  • Close/limit use of shared spaces
  • Ask customers who are ill to stay home
  • Consider policies that encourage flexible sick leave and alternative work schedules.
  • Schedule stocking during off-peak hours

  • Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, (e.g., counters, shelving, displays)
  • Provide employees with disposable disinfectant wipes, cleaner, or sprays that are effective against the virus that causes COVID-19

  • Training

    Provide employees with training on:
  • Policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • General hygiene
  • Symptoms, what to do if sick
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Cloth face covers
  • Social distancing
  • Use of PPE
  • Safe work practices
  • Stress management
  • PPE
  • Conduct workplace hazard assessment
  • Determine what PPE is needed for their workers’ specific job duties based on hazards and other controls present
  • Select and provide appropriate PPE to the workers at no cost.