Getting back to business safely

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Video taken of a workplace before COVID 19 shows people working close to each other. They perform duties in tight spaces, sharing pens, and keyboards.

You won't see those pictures anytime soon, at least not after COVID 19.

While it may have been easy to close businesses, these days opening those businesses safely is another story.

“Opening back up presents its own new set of challenges, with a variety of state and federal laws not only governing how we keep our customers safe, but how we keep our employees safe,” says Shannon Pierce, an attorney with Fennemore Craig Law Firm in Reno.

Pierce says safety means social distancing, hygiene considerations like sanitizing gel and masks. Employers might want to stagger shifts so fewer employees will work at one place during one shift.

Some employees, she says, may have underlying health conditions where they may not be able to return to the worksite. Instead, they may have to work from home. Some workplace protocols have loosened in these times.

“They are relaxing the law a little bit,” says Pierce. “To allow business to do a little more invasive checking. For example, we can now take employee temperatures which months ago it wasn't quite clear if that would be appropriate.”

If the business sees customers, it must incorporate social distancing there as well. And they too must decide if customers must wear masks as part of doing that business.

Pierce says we are in uncharted territory at this time. There is potential liability if an unsafe workplace exists and someone gets sick. She says businesses can look to the state, their industry, or even an attorney for guidance. Pierce says in times of COVID 19, It is up to the employer and employee to have a safe working environment.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020