County pushes ‘playbook’ to reopening businesses

Public health department hopes employers, employees explore guidebook

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Customers are allowed to drink outdoors in front of the Pour Decisions Taproom in downtown Hollister. (Juan Reyes)

San Benito County Public Health officials are hoping that a new state issued guidebook will help businesses get back on track to opening its doors. 

Public health officials on Aug. 7 announced in a press release that the California Department of Public Health issued the Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening, which is meant to help businesses plan and prepare for a reopening. 

The industry-specific guidance, released July 31, applies to businesses statewide. The guidebook includes detailed information on when and how an employer must report when an employee has tested positive for Covid-19. 

The book also defines what is considered an outbreak along with a guidance for employers considering to suspend operations due to a Covid-19 spread in the workplace. 

According to public health officials, employers must provide face coverings to workers or they must reimburse workers for the reasonable cost of obtaining them. All businesses and facilities must also follow a list before reopening. 

First, they have to locate guidance for their respective industry, business, event or activity. Next, they review it completely and then they perform a detailed risk assessment along with creating a worksite-specific protection plan.

That’s followed by training their employees on how to limit the spread of Covid-19, which includes how to screen themselves for symptoms and when to stay home. Other key factors they need to know is how to set up individual control measures and screenings, put disinfection protocols in place and establish physical distancing guidelines. 

All businesses, events or activities must establish universal face covering requirements with certain exceptions such as people with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering and children younger than two years old.

Employees who are exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition and are in a job involving regular contact with others should wear a non-restrictive alternative. That includes a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge as long as their condition permits it.

Finally, all businesses events or activities must post a completed checklist so everyone can know the steps they’ve taken to reopen.

On July 29, CDPH issued a guidebook for restaurants providing outdoor dining, takeout, drive-thru and delivery. 

According to the guidebook, bars, brewpubs, breweries and pubs must close both indoor and outdoor operations in all counties unless they can offer outdoor dining. Alcohol can only be sold in the same transaction as a meal, which also includes takeout, drive-through pick-up and delivered meals.

Establishments must discontinue music and entertainment events including solo singers, instrumentalists and DJs, according to public officials. They said the guidance is not intended for concert, performance or entertainment venues. 

Indoor operation for dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms must still be closed in all counties.

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