Mask Up, Space Out: Returning To Work Recommendations

Friday, May 15th 2020, 4:56 pm


As the state enters the second phase of reopening following COVID-19 restrictions, and more and more businesses reopen, more people will be returning to work.

Health experts said as the shift back to work happens, employees and employers simply cannot shift back to the way things were before COVID-19.

“It won't quite be business as usual as it has been in the past,” OU Medicine’s Dr. Dale Bratzler said.

He said employers should still consider allowing elderly and immunocompromised employees to continue to work from home. Bratzler also said employers should keep workspaces spaced out.

“Can they separate desks, potentially close things like break rooms avoid areas where people might congregate,” he said.

Bratzler also recommends employers revisit their sick leave policies.

“You don't want people to feel compelled to come to work if they're ill,” he said. “Be flexible with your sick leave policies because it's like flu season, you don't want those people coming to work because they may spread the disease to others.”

For employees, Bratzler said less hand shaking and more mask wearing will go a long way.

“The purpose of wearing a mask is to protect the people around you, and remember, we know a substantial number of people who get COVID-19 have no symptoms at all,” he said. “So, we definitely want to encourage people to wear masks in case you have someone who got infected outside and don't even know they have it.”

 He said this will likely be the “new-normal” until a vaccine is widely available.