WASHINGTON—The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its interim guidance for employees in essential businesses who may have been exposed to someone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, outlining when employees can return to work.
The agency, which released its initial guidance in late February, said businesses may permit exposed employees to continue to work if they are asymptomatic and take additional precautions to protect themselves and the community. A potential exposure means living in the same house or having close contact within six feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, the CDC said. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes 48 hours before the affected individual began showing symptoms.
CDC guidelines indicate that critical employees who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:
- Pre-screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to their shift. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
- Regular monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, he or she should self-monitor under the supervision of his or her employer’s occupational health program.
- Wear a mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure.
- Social Distance: The employee should maintain six feet and practice social distancing as duties permit in the workplace.
- Disinfect and clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas and shared electronic equipment routinely.
If an employee becomes sick during the day, he or she should be sent home immediately, the CDC said. Workplace surfaces should then be cleaned and disinfected. Employers should determine who the ill employee had contact with two days prior to symptoms appearing. Coworkers who have had close contact within six feet of the affected employee would be considered exposed.
Employers can download a printable CDC flyer for workplaces here.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.