Author: Attorney John Rather
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a severe impact on public health and small businesses. In Wisconsin, restrictions on activities and operations have largely been left to individual counties in light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s May decision overturning a previous statewide Safer at Home order.
Dane County has issued a series of orders containing requirements and restrictions for local businesses and the general public. Included in these orders is a requirement that all businesses in Dane County must have in place the following written policies and procedures regarding COVID-19:
- A written hygiene policy that covers such things as keeping symptomatic employees away from the workplace, establishing hand-washing expectations and describing proper cough and sneeze etiquette.
- A written cleaning policy, including both preventative and responsive sanitizing steps.
- A written protective measures policy that sets forth expectations such as social-distancing and the provision and required use of face coverings while indoors. For businesses that previously had such a policy in place, it should be updated to include the requirement to wear face coverings while indoors.
Outside of written policies, businesses must also take the following operational steps:
(1) document staff receipt, acknowledgement, or training on the policies, including updated documentation where there has been changes made to one or more policies (such as updates to a protective measures policy to require face coverings);
(2) post Dane County’s “Workplace Requirements for Employers and Workers” guidance document in a prominent location where all employees may access and view it, or if staff are working remotely, email it to all staff or post it on an internal network; and
(3) mandate that all employees and visitors wear facial coverings such as masks, and must provide masks for employees. Businesses can permit employees and visitors to wear their own masks if they choose.
Though these policies are currently only required for Dane County businesses, they are advisable for all businesses and represent key parts of an overall return to work and COVID-mitigation and response strategy.
If you have questions about how to design or implement these policies, or if you have other questions about how to prepare or respond to the unique challenges presented by this pandemic, we are here to help.
The guidance provided above is general in nature and readers are encouraged to reach out to Neider & Boucher, S.C., or to their own legal counsel to determine the applicability of these issues to their own personal and/or business needs.