The reopening and mitigation guidelines below are part of Restore Chester County's Business & Org Toolkit and apply to the nonprofits sector.
Click on each key topic below to find best practices for this sector compiled from federal, state and county guidelines and vetted by state and local health departments, businesses and municipalities. In addition, the chart provided here is an overview of Pennsylvania regulations for reopening through the red, yellow and green phases as they compare to CDC regulations. Leaders from Chester County's various sectors have indicated that these are the topics of highest concern at this point. We welcome your feedback as we continue to make updates.
According to Pennsylvania's Phased Reopening Plan, workspaces will only be open in the "Red" phase if such operation is needed to provide "Life-Sustaining" or "Essential" service. Those nonprofits that serve food or provide shelter will fall under this category. In the "Yellow" phase, telework still must continue in spaces where it is possible. Businesses that need to switch to in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders. In the "Green" phase, telework is strongly encouraged to continue.
This document offers practical guidance for employer- and employee-led actions in an office setting. It aims to provide tips for 1) workplace preparation, 2) workforce management and 3) employee readiness.
Nonprofits serve a wide range of specialized needs. Cross-reference guidelines for related industries that reflect your particular circumstances, including:
These materials and any related updates are provided and intended for general public informational purposes and guidance. While intended to be timely and accurate, please note that federal and state regulations and directives are changing often. To that extent, please continue to monitor this site for any significant modifications and developments.
Employer Tips and Guidelines +
Employers should consider developing a team of professionals to monitor, assess, and implement new COVID-19 transmission risk mitigation strategies.
Consistently monitor employee wellness and do not let anyone symptomatic report to work. Revisit your leave or sick program to allow for this time off.
Employees who monitor their temperature at home should update their supervisor if they have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and stay home.
Review and reconfigure workstations so that employees do not face each other. Establish partitions if facing each other cannot be avoided.
Consider eliminating reception seating areas and request that guests phone ahead, or install a plastic partition in the reception area.
Temporarily replace amenities that are handled with high-contact frequency, such as water coolers, coffee makers and bulk snacks, and replace them with alternatives.
Employees should be encouraged to use virtual meeting tools in lieu of in-person meetings whenever possible. If in-person meetings are essential, limit meetings to 10 people or fewer.
If meetings are to occur in person, they should be conducted in a quick manner. Lingering and socializing before and after meetings should be discouraged.
Establish a disinfection routine. All contact surfaces should be disinfected regularly. Common areas should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis at minimum.
Use disposable products when possible.
Regulate the use of common areas with clear signage and physical distancing measures.
Employers and employees should not provide communal meals to employees, and should not make food available in common areas where employees may congregate.
Doors to multi-stall restrooms should be able to be opened and closed without touching handles if at all possible. For single restrooms, provide signage and materials (paper towels and trash cans) for individuals to use without touching the handles, and consider providing a key so disinfection measures can be better controlled.
Provide paper towels in restrooms and disconnect or tape off hand air dryers.
Ensure the ventilation system provides an adequate flow of fresh air to workspaces.
Clean and disinfect all HVAC intakes and returns daily.
If pedestal fans or hard-mounted fans are used, take steps to minimize air from fans blowing from one person directly to another.
Communicate to employees what is being done to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (e.g., disinfection routine, health policies for staff, and health and safety measures in place).
Establish formal and informal routes of communication for employees to express concerns, questions, comments, and feedback as it relates to indoor environmental quality.
Explore work from home options, staggering work shift/hours, and other flexible approaches for employees.
Health checks and reporting requirements of individuals infected with COVID-19 should be explained to employees prior to reopening and again once operations have resumed.
Employees should evaluate their health constantly. If they are sick, have a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or other symptoms, or someone at home is sick, they should remain home. NOTE: Employer HR Policies, HIPAA guidelines and other laws should be followed at all times.
Employees should practice effective hand hygiene including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
If employees get the urge to sneeze or cough, they should cover their nose, mouth, and mask with a towel or handkerchief. Employees should wash their hands and face (if possible) thoroughly immediately after.
If 6-feet physical distance cannot be maintained or in accordance with any local, state or federal guidelines, provide or encourage employees to wear face coverings, gloves, and shoe covers.
For additional support, the Chester County Health Department can be reached at 610-344-6225.
This is a process and not an eventâ€”take a phased approach as you reopen.
Prior to reopening, consider flexible work schedules, work from home options, and anticipate a hesitant and potentially uncomfortable workforce.
Approach decision making with an eye for cultural competency, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Communicate new protocols and procedures before staff returns to the office.
You may find that because of spacing issues, your organization might consider only bringing a portion of staff back to the office while others will continue working remotely. Organizational leadership should meet to discuss which staff should return and when.
Follow any and all guidelines for sanitation and social distancing from your local health department.
Ongoing Sanitation and Social Distancing Guidelines
Offices should be cleaned daily, especially where people congregate (waiting rooms, conference rooms, bathrooms). You may want to increase professional cleaning and sanitation for these reasons. Remove trash daily.
Staff should wash hands regularly and should avoid excessive touching of communal surfaces if possible.
Have disinfecting wipes available in all public areas as well as hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Ask staff to remember to also sanitize their own desks, equipment and office areas on a regular basis (at least daily) to prevent spread of germs.
Nonprofit personnel often are hand-shakers or huggers. While challenging, avoid physical contact.
Don't assume everyone understands hygienic concepts. When in doubt, do not put groups of people into hygienically compromising situations. Some may need instruction.
Consider offering services remotely if at all possible.
Kitchen areas should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis at minimum.
Consider for a period of time asking all employees to eat alone.
If you serve any food, all food and beverages should be served from service staff that are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
If you provide any food services to the public, work with local health officials to ensure the safety of this process. The Chester County Health Department can be reached at 610-344-6225.
Ensure you communicate on doors, website and social media when public hours may resume.
Inform employees about who is allowed in the building and who should not enter. This could include family members or friends of employees, donors, volunteers, etc.
If you do receive the public, ensure signage about hygiene and disease prevention protocols is visible and accessible. If you regularly work with clientele where English is not a first language, translate those into the appropriate language(s).
For contact-tracing purposes, have ALL visitors sign in when they enter.
If you have mail services forwarded or collected, be sure to contact the USPS to ensure mail is delivered when ready.
Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive "emergency sick leave" policies.
Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider's note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
Plan for staff absences. Staff need to stay home when they are sick, to care for a sick household member, or to care for their children in the event of school dismissals.
Identify critical job functions and positions and plan for alternative coverage by cross-training staff (similar to planning for holiday staffing).
Some individuals will report significant anxiety, fear and reticence about re-entering the workplace. Organizations should not be dismissive or judgmental about this anxiety.
Boards and committees should continue to meet on a regularly established schedule. They may consider elongating meetings or having emergency meetings to deal with the crisis.
As you begin to re-engage, inform the board of your plans, phases of re-engagement, etc.
Work with the board to ask for any possible assistance or advice through the process, particularly with those board members who are engaged in this process with their own respective companies and employers. Provide regular board updates on progress.
Ensure that you have a crisis communications plan that establishes the nonprofit spokesperson.
Ensure board and leadership have a firm understanding of any risk, liability and who assumes it. The board should also approve an Emergency and Disaster Plan to mitigate future crises.
Follow local regulations about the number of people allowed to be together.
Ensure social distancing tactics are observed.
Encourage those attending to wear masks and observe their own social distancing techniques.
For food handling, use licensed caterers and allow no "self-serve" handling.
Inform all guests of any special protocols in place at events before they attend (mask wearing, social distancing, food, other etiquette you will observe).
Have contingencies in place in the event of postponement, cancellation, change of plans, etc. Keep donors informed of all contingencies.
Granting or Sponsorship Relationships
Let them know your plans on re-engagement and opening, any changes to program delivery, any changes on deliverables or expectations.
Provide them information on your financial position and be completely transparent.
If you are postponing an event, contact donors first and then announce the postponement. Discuss any necessary contingencies about their donation.
Have a plan for social distancing and sanitation if you continue to offer child care.
How Employees Can Protect Themselves +
Self-monitor your temperature every morning. Employees who have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should stay home and notify their supervisor.
Practice effective hand hygiene including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
At minimum, you should wash your hands upon arrival to work, after touching your face or face covering, any common contact surfaces and when leaving work. If you get the urge to sneeze or cough, you should cover your nose, mouth, and mask with a towel or handkerchief.
At all times, wear a face covering or something better if you have it. Let your employer know if you have concerns about any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that may be provided to you.
Employees should stay home if they have tested positive for or are showing COVID-19 symptoms. Employees who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health.
When possible, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals.
Regularly clean high-contact surface areas.
If an Employee Tests Positive +
If the individual receives a positive test notification while at work, follow established Human Resources policy. If the individual receives a positive test notification while NOT at work, the individual should follow established Human Resources policy, stay home and self-isolate in accordance with Chester County Health Department guidance.
Determine who had contact with the positive individual during the time the individual had symptoms as well as 48 hours prior to symptoms. Notify employees who were in close contact with the confirmed individual while maintaining confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
People who had close contact must self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of last contact with the positive individual.
"Close contact" is defined as having contact for more than 15 minutes, at a distance of 6 feet or less, with a positive individual.
Individuals may discontinue home isolation and return to work under the following conditions:
At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since your fever went away without the use of fever-reducing medication
AND improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
AND At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
After returning to work, individuals should:
Wear a facemask at all times while at work until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer.
Be restricted from contact with individuals at a higher risk (e.g., older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness).
AND At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
Adhere to hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette (e.g., cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, dispose of tissues in waste receptacles).
Self-monitor for symptoms. Seek immediate re-evaluation from occupational health/primary care provider and do not work if symptoms recur or worsen.
The Chester County Health Department will be notified of all confirmed cases through established disease reporting protocols and will follow-up with the individual appropriately. Contact the Chester County Health Department at 610-344-6225.
Supporting Customers and Clients +
Cross reference guidelines for any specialized services you may provide.
Customers and visitors to the site should follow practices of social distancing.
No handshake greetings.
Increase use of virtual technology to interact with visitors and clients.
Encourage employees and clients to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories about COVID-19, including social media if they are feeling overwhelmed or distressed.
Promote clients eating healthy, exercising, getting sleep, and finding time to unwind.
Encourage clients to talk with people they trust about their concerns.
Consider providing protective masks/face coverings for visitors/clients.
Monitor visitors, clients, and the public for symptoms of COVID-19.
Along with best practices outlined here and in our Business Toolkit, individual business and organization sectors will be following further guidance. Click below to learn more on how they're preparing.