Open this before you reopen your doors

Newly-issued industry sector-specific guidelines were released for May 20th; here’s what municipalities need to know before reopening their office buildings.

Released May 9, industry sector-specific guidelines were developed by Gov. Ned Lamont, his office, and the Department of Economic Community Development (DECD) officials, with recommendations from the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group.

Even a calculated and gradual reopening process will create unique challenges for Connecticut public entities. At the inception of this process, CIRMA has identified several high-level priorities to ensure that communities have the information, resources, and policies they need to facilitate and lead a return to normal business operations over time. CIRMA members should become familiar with and disseminate sector-specific guidelines in their entirety to adequately prepare for a successful phased reopening process.  

The Guidelines

Businesses are not required to open; however, select business operations that choose to reopen on May 20th must adhere to the guidelines which include but are not limited to the required use of signage, touchless appliances, masks or cloth face coverings, and mandate social distancing, capacity limits, and regular cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

All businesses subject to these guidelines are required to self-certify before opening May 20th. The certification system will be online next week, and a link will be added to this page at that time. Businesses that reopen must complete the self-certification on the DECD website to receive a Reopen CT badge. Once complete, offices can choose to post the badge on-site and on social media to advertise adherence to Connecticut rules and build confidence within communities.

For Offices

When Connecticut’s offices reopen, the most crucial consideration will be the health and safety of employees. According to guidelines, employees are encouraged to continue to work from home where possible. In cases where employees return to the workplace, businesses must exercise caution throughout the reopening process, ensuring strict adherence to the protocols listed here. Businesses that are not able to meet the rules by May 20th should delay opening until they can.

Those who choose to reopen on May 20th must also institute a training program and ensure employee participation in the program prior to reopening their doors. Per the guidelines, training shall include:

  • Protocols on how to clean and use cleaning products (including disinfectants) safely

Additional guidance can be found here.

Note: If any on-site duties are subcontracted, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure subcontractors are also appropriately trained. The training shall be provided at no cost to the employee and during working hours. The training materials shall be presented in the language and at the literacy level of the employees. There shall also be weekly refreshers on policies.

*Reopen Connecticut Diagram offers a visual depiction of mandated office operations

For Office Customers and Visitors

As stated in the guidelines, customers and visitors are required to bring and wear masks or cloth face coverings that completely cover the nose and mouth unless doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety due to a medical condition. If the customer or visitor does not have a mask or face covering, then they either must be provided one by the site employer or not allowed to enter the facility.

Moving Forward

This information is intended to serve as an overview of essential guidelines that are relevant to public entities, which provides a vital municipal perspective as the State of Connecticut begins to phase-in economic and social re-engagement as thoughtfully and cautiously as possible. Businesses should take these rules as the minimum baseline of precautions needed to protect public health in Connecticut. CIRMA will continue to monitor the situation to help keep our members apprised of the latest developments related to COVID-19.