Kevin Ian Schmidt

Roadmap to ReOpen

Reopening a business in our current environment has many risks, from finding how to make a profit in this changed environment, from keeping employees and customers safe, and battling perceptions that it is safe to be in your business.

Roadmap to ReOpen

Roadmap to ReOpen – retail

Roadmap to ReOpen – salons-spas-hairdressers

*more to come: If your industry isn’t addressed, keep checking back*

Responsible RestartOhio Sector Specific Guidelines


Cleaning the business is VERY important to opening up, and keeping employees and customer/clients safe! Different surfaces require different cleaning regimens, and the cleaning plan should consider the frequency of contact and the various types of materials. The CDC also recommends considering removal of soft, porous surfaces (such as rugs and soft seating) to streamline and simplify cleaning and disinfectant processes.

Tips on How to Clean and Disinfect

Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    • A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.
    • Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.
      • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
        • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or
        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Soft (Porous) Surfaces

  • For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

How To Properly Use Disinfectants:

  • Disinfectants must be EPA-registered and labeled as bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal.
  • If you are mixing disinfectants, it’s important to mix properly. 
  • Using bleach? Follow these guidelines: 
    • Make sure that you’re using disinfecting bleach—not all bleach disinfects.
    • Check the label for instructions on how to “to disinfect” to ensure that you have the proper bleach.
    • Bleach must be diluted with water, but nothing else should ever be added—mixing bleach with common items like vinegar and ammonia can create a lethal gas.

What’s the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

It’s important to note that cleaning a surface, such as removing dirt and particles, is not the same thing as disinfecting a surface that kills viruses and bacteria. 
Often, you need to clean a surface with soap and water or another cleaning solution BEFORE you can effectively disinfect the surface. 

What’s a disinfectant product?

There are many products you can use to superficially clean hard surfaces, such as warm, soapy water, vinegar water solution sprays, or even essential oil solution sprays. However, those products have NOT been scientifically proven to effectively disinfect a surface from contaminants such as the coronavirus, influenza, norovirus, etc.
It’s essential to pay attention to the active ingredients in your cleaning products. Below are common active ingredients found in the CDC and EPA recommended disinfectant cleaning products that can kill many viruses and bacteria:

  • Ethanol alcohol (60%-90%)*
  • Hydrogen peroxide 
  • Isopropyl alcohol (60%-90%) 
  • Quaternary Ammonium
  • Sodium hypochlorite

The above is NOT an inclusive list, but it can help guide you as you look for products. You can view the all-inclusive list on the EPA’s website
*Note: alcohol for human consumption is not an effective disinfectant

Important points for disinfection and cleaning

The risk of exposure to cleaning staff is inherently low. Cleaning staff should wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.

  • Gloves and gowns should be compatible with the disinfectant products being used.
  • Additional PPE might be required based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.
  • Gloves and gowns should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area. Be sure to clean hands after removing gloves.
  • If gowns are not available, coveralls, aprons or work uniforms can be worn during cleaning and disinfecting. Reusable (washable) clothing should be laundered afterwards. Clean hands after handling dirty laundry.

Need Supplies? Check out Ohio Manufacturers Association PPE Exchange

Although the CDC does not recommend that the cleaning and disinfecting plan be written, it may be a good idea to develop a written plan and distribute it to employees and cleaning staff. Additionally, signage reminding employees to minimize touching surfaces and to wash hands frequently may assist in exposure reduction. Employers should document the steps they have taken to assure their cleaning and disinfection procedures are compliant with the latest guidance and recommendations, including reviewing guidelines, developing a plan, and implementation of the plan. Documentation may include cleaning schedules, cleaning staff assignments, evidence of the engagement and scope of work of third-party janitorial services, purchase orders and shipping receipts for cleaning supplies and related PPE, employee communications, and anything else to show employers’ efforts to keep work areas clean and disinfected.

Additional considerations for employers

  • Educate workers performing cleaning, laundry, and trash pick-up to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19. *FREE training coming soon*
  • Provide instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms within 14 days after their last possible exposure to the virus.
  • Develop policies for worker protection and provide training to all cleaning staff on site prior to providing cleaning tasks.
    • Training should include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly don (put on), use, and doff (take off) PPE, and how to properly dispose of PPE.

Need PPE? Check out Ohio Manufacturers Association PPE Exchange or contact me and I can assist you in sourcing supplies.

As an Occupational safety and health professional, I know that the best way to control a hazard is to systematically remove it from the workplace, rather than relying on workers to reduce their exposure.

The most effective protection measures are referred to as engineering controls and administrative controls.

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls involve protecting employees from work-related hazards. For COVID-19, these controls include:

  • Installing high-efficiency air filters.
  • Increasing ventilation rates in the work environment.
  • Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards.
  • Installing a drive-through window for customer service.
  • Specialized negative pressure ventilation in some settings, such as for aerosol generating procedures (e.g., airborne infection isolation rooms in healthcare settings and specialized autopsy suites in mortuary settings).

Administrative Controls

Administrative controls require action by the worker or employer. Typically, administrative controls are changes in work policy or procedures to reduce or minimize exposure to a hazard. Examples of administrative controls for COVID-19 that may make sense after your state or region lifts its stay-at-home order include:

  • Reminding sick workers to stay at home.
  • Establishing alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time, allowing them to maintain distance from one another while maintaining a full onsite work week.
  • Providing workers with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g., cough etiquette and care of PPE).
  • Training workers who need to use protecting clothing and equipment how to put it on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, including in the context of their current and potential duties. Training material should be easy to understand and available in the appropriate language and literacy level for all workers.

Depending on your line of business, some of the above may be unnecessary. But as any risk manager can tell you, where there is an exposure, there should be a control.

Need more customized advice? Reach out directly and I will assist you, free of charge:


4 Steps to Handle Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Your Workplace

You should follow this four-step plan when addressing a confirmed COVID-19 case in your workplace:

Isolate/Quarantine Confirmed Employees
The infected employee should remain at home until released by a physician or public health official. If a medical note releasing the employee is unavailable, follow the CDC guidelines on when an employee may discontinue self-isolation, which contain specific requirements dependent upon whether the employee tested positive for COVID-19 and the symptoms exhibited.

Address And Isolate Employees Working Near An Infected Co-Worker
You should ask infected employees to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (within six feet) for a prolonged period of time (10 minutes or more to 30 minutes or more depending upon particular circumstances, such as how close the employees worked and whether they shared tools or other items) with them during the 48-hour period before the onset of symptoms. Send home all employees who worked closely with the infected employee for 14 days under CDC Guidance to ensure the infection does not spread. While quarantined, those employees should self-monitor for symptoms, avoid contact with high-risk individuals, and seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

Please note that the CDC has developed alternative guidelines for critical workers. If you are an essential business, asymptomatic employees who have been directly exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 can continue to work if certain guidelines are met. The CDC may issue even further guidance once businesses begin to reopen, as evidenced by this brand new webpage devoted to reopened businesses.

Clean And Disinfect Your Workplace
After a confirmed COVID-19 case, follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the workplace. Your cleaning staff or a third-party sanitation contractor should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill person, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

If using cleaners other than household cleaners with more frequency than an employee would use at home, ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace and maintain a written program in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard. Simply download the manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and share with employees as needed, and make sure the cleaners used are on your list of workplace chemicals used as part of a Hazard Communication Program.

Cleaning and disinfecting your building or facility if someone is sick

  • Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
    • Companies do not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off affected areas.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Wait 24 hours before you clean or disinfect. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
  • Vacuum the space if needed. Use vacuum equipped with high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter, if available.
    • Do not vacuum a room or space that has people in it. Wait until the room or space is empty to vacuum, such as at night, for common spaces, or during the day for private rooms.
    • Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space, so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility.
  • Once area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use.
    • Workers without close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection.
  • If more than 7 days since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.
    • Continue routing cleaning and disinfection. This includes everyday practices that businesses and communities normally use to maintain a healthy environment.

Notify Your Employees
Following a confirmed COVID-19 case, and as recommended by the CDC, notify all employees who work in the location or area where the employee works of the situation without revealing any confidential medical information such as the name of the employee (unless the employee has signed an authorization to disclose his or her diagnosis; see samples available in our FP Data Bank). Inform employees of the actions you have taken, including requiring employees who worked closely to the infected worker to go home. Let employees know about your sanitizing and cleaning efforts and remind them to seek medical attention if they exhibit symptoms. The failure to notify employees at your location of a confirmed case may be a violation of OSHA’s general duty clause, which requires all employers to provide employees with a safe work environment.



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