Employers and Employees concerned about their workplace under Colorado’s recent “Stay-at-Home” Executive and Public Health Orders should read through this Official Colorado State website: https://covid19.colorado.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs. That webpage includes helpful information regarding Governor Jared Polis’ Orders, including a PDF from Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) titled “Guidance on Critical vs. Non-Critical Business Professions” as well as several links and drop-down menus to help you determine: has your business been deemed “critical” or should it be “closed”?
I. Colorado Closed Businesses During COVID-19 – Minimum Basic Operations
On March 25, 2020, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide “Stay-at-Home” Order, part of which directed all businesses other than “Critical Businesses” to close, “except as necessary to engage in minimum basic operations needed to protect assets and maintain personnel functions.” (To read the complete order, follow this link – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O1EDCY6-A6QBKxzDImCSF8bBBdOOI3Km/view.)
Two days later, on March 27, 2020, Governor Polis issued Updated Public Heath Order 20-24 to further outline requirements for businesses and activities. That Updated Order reiterated that businesses ordered to close “may continue to carry out Minimum Basic Operations” and encouraged employers who possess the ability to operate through employees working remotely to do so.
That March 27th Order then defined Minimum Basic Operations for Colorado’s closed businesses: “The minimum necessary activities to (1) maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; or (2) facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their Residences are allowable pursuant to this Order; continue filling online product orders and to process customer orders remotely. Any business supporting Minimum Basic Operations must comply at all times with Social Distancing Requirements.” .” (To read the complete order, follow this link – https://drive.google.com/file/d/15odEp4BF2gxJAiGNpxX-5nB7nCirbk4z/view )
II. Colorado Critical Businesses During COVID-19 – Colorado’s Employee Health Screening PDF, Voluntary Self-Certification PDF, and Federal CDC Recommendations
Colorado’s Critical Businesses should visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment has released this Employee Health Screening form for employer use: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-hhX1bpGe03718zdrxV-IIipdPdnW55-/view . Whether or not a workplace uses this exact form, having some sort of employee health screening practice in place may be one way for essential employers to try to protect themselves, staff, and customers during this pandemic.
Colorado’s Critical Employers should also re-visit the Official Colorado State website for all COVID-19 links and resources (mentioned above): https://covid19.colorado.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs. On that webpage is a downloadable PDF “Self-Certification Form.” This voluntary form is paperwork for businesses to complete for their employees and drivers. As the form’s “Instructions” section explains, “Drivers and employees of critical businesses can use this document and any supporting documentation to declare that they are employed by a critical business and are certified to be engaged in an essential function or service. Travel necessary to perform minimum basic operations of a business is also exempt.”
On a federal level, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Website offers many suggestions for operating a workplace during the spread of COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-business-response.html. This CDC website contains practical steps to put into practice at the workplace in order to lower exposure levels – as well as links to other federal agencies’ publications.
One such linked publication is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) standards and recommendations for operating a business during the coronavirus outbreak. This comprehensive PDF released by OSHA is a 30-plus-page document that gives various recommendations based on employees’ and the business’s level of COVID-19 “exposure risk”: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf.
During the spread of this pandemic, we sit in the midst of a moving landscape for employers and employees – no one knows the full scope of what will occur in the coming days, weeks, and months, nor knows how the law will change to meet the rising workplace challenges presented by this novel coronavirus. As a result, the attorneys at Sears & Associates, P.C. encourage all to stay informed, daily, about changes in Colorado and Federal laws that interpret workplace matters in the light of COVID-19.
Sears & Associates, P.C. attorneys and staff sincerely wish the best of health to you and yours during this time. Take good care.