[UPDATE: May 25, 2020]
The standards and procedures for health and safety for the entire population (including workers in facilities that are opening up) are rapidly evolving and include a combination of federal guidelines as well as state and local mandates and rules.
This is a developing story that we will update regularly. The federal CDC just released a long-awaited set of guidelines to “open up” the nation, but they are a watered-down version of the original draft.
California’s rules are also quickly evolving as are those of local jurisdictions including input from their public health departments and other agencies.
“The coming decisions will be difficult,” cautions NPQ‘s Martin Levine. “Redesigning workplaces and service systems to be both safe and effective in the face of the virus requires guidance from public health and medical experts. The past weeks have taught us that despite the fact that their expertise should be a foundation upon which we can build , we cannot expect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), much less the federal government as a whole, to provide the guidance nonprofits and for-profit businesses alike need.”
[April 6, 2020]
The issue of workplace health and safety raises many questions for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. If a nonprofit organization is exempted from stay-at-home orders, there will be entirely different considerations than for groups that are shifting to remote, online, operations and don’t have any contact with the general public.
The applicable rules and recommendations arise from a confusing patchwork of federal, state, and local sources. They vary, also, according to degrees of “risk” inherent in a particular workplace and there are special rules in place for certain categories like healthcare.
These are complex issues with no easy one-size-fits-all answers or advice.