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Emergency Management issues employer guidelines on reopening


Monday, May 11

The Klickitat County Department of Emergency Management in Unified Command with The Public Health Department this morning issued what it calls the “Employers’ Guide to Reopening Safely.”

The agencies thanked employers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and added, “We know the past few months have been trying for all business owners, and each of you has made significant changes to adhere to the new best practices and guidelines as they were released. As we transition into additional businesses being able to open, we want to ensure everyone has the information needed to keep our community healthy.”

The agencies’ statement continued: “Although we are beginning to phase in the reopening of our county and Washington state, the COVID-19 virus is still a very serious disease with life-threatening implications. Until we have a successful vaccine, an effective treatment, and an isolation plan, we must maintain some level of community interventions to suppress the spread of COVID-19 throughout all phases of economic recovery. We do this for ourselves, our family, our loved ones, our grandparents, and for the overall prosperity of our community. The desire to reopen is understandably strong, and we hope that you all take the precautions listed below to ensure the health and well-being of our entire community.”

The statement then itemizes its best practices for employers during all phases of re-opening:

• Maintain six-foot physical distancing standards and adopt other mitigation measures when physical distancing is not possible for a particular job task (physical barriers, masks, etc).

• Provide adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities for your employees, vendors, and customers.

• Provide employee access to handwashing facilities with soap and water.

• Disinfect the business regularly and increase the frequency of cleanings focusing especially on high touch surfaces. Follow the CDC cleaning guidelines.

• Identify and acquire the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for your employees such as masks, face coverings, and gloves.

• Create a COVID-19 workplace policy that addresses sick employees, restrictions for COVID-19 positive employees, and possibly exposed employees. Be sure to include business protocols for the screening of employees, changes to the facility such as non-cash transactions, and any other measures that are needed to keep your staff and customers safe and healthy.

• Communicate with your employees about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors associated with COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread.

• Keep up to date with changes to guidelines and recent events through the resources provided by the state. Do your research and be flexible with making changes to stay current.

The statement emphasized the need to stick to reliable information sources such as Washington State Department of Health and the CDC.

Washington State Coronavirus Webpage -

Workplace Safety Guidance for Employers -

Phased “Safe Start” approach to reopening:

“New Normal” Employers Checklist-

Retail Operational Plan and Checklist-

Gorge Crisis Innovation - Face mask requests and donations as well as “how-to” directions to make your own:


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