Workplace outbreak guidance

Updated June 17, 2021.

Available languages: English | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文 | Soomaali | العربية 

 

This guidance offers workplaces and non-healthcare, non-residential facilities best practices for preventing and reducing the severity of outbreaks and contains tools for reporting outbreaks to public health.

Definitions 

Colorado COVID-19 case and outbreak definitions

An outbreak determination does not necessarily mean all cases acquired their illness in that specific workplace/facility. It is possible that a case may have been exposed elsewhere. We can rarely prove where any individual acquired their infection with SARS-Co-V-2. When a case worked or spent time in a workplace/facility with a known outbreak, we attribute their illness to the outbreak even if there is no definitive proof that the case acquired the illness there. This conservative approach is consistent across all outbreak types.

Recent COVID-19 exposure: Having close contact (generally less than 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, depending on the exposure) with a person with COVID-19 from two days before their symptom onset (or positive COVID-19 test) until they meet criteria to discontinue isolation. Depending on the workplace environment and types of person-to-person interactions, high-risk "close contact" exposures can occur in fewer than 15 minutes (e.g., sharing a drink, kissing). Note that close contact is not restricted to 15 consecutive minutes. Someone who was close to a sick person multiple times during a work shift for a total of 15 minutes or more is considered as having been exposed to COVID-19. Consult with public health authorities for additional guidance.

Preventing outbreaks

Employers are responsible for providing a workplace free from recognizable harm. Workplaces/facilities can help prevent outbreaks by reducing the spread among staff, maintaining healthy business operations, promoting a healthy work environment, and following applicable state and local public health and executive orders. 

Vaccination
  • Encourage your employees to get vaccinated. The more people vaccinated employees in your workplace/facility, the lower the risk of a workplace outbreak. Information regarding vaccines can be found on the CDPHE vaccine website
  • Consider providing employees with the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine via CDPHE’s workplace vaccination program.
  • Fully vaccinated employees (those who received their final dose of a vaccine series at least 2 weeks previously) no longer need to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and they remain asymptomatic. They should still monitor for fever and symptoms for 14 days, and they should immediately isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms. They should also continue participating in any workplace testing surveillance recommended by their local public health agency.
    • Note that for non-health care congregate settings, CDPHE or local public health agencies may still require quarantine for fully vaccinated workers in the event of an outbreak with a virus variant when the vaccine is known or suspected to be less effective against that variant. 
  • Sign the Power the Comeback pledge for businesses
  • Promotional materials and toolkits for workplaces are also available from CDPHE and CDC.
Reduce spread among staff

Screen employees daily, and send sick employees home.

  • Employees who have symptoms should stay home and notify their employer.
  • At point of entry, all employees should be screened for recent COVID-19 exposure and symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Screenings should include a temperature check and questions about COVID-19 symptoms and recent COVID-19 exposure.
    • Document symptom checks using an employee health screening form
    • Employees with COVID-19 symptoms should be masked, sent home immediately, and not allowed to enter the workplace/facility beyond the screening area. Refer them to the Colorado COVID Symptom Support Tool, and encourage them to get tested.
    • Maintain physical distancing when screening onsite. For example, provide multiple screening entry sites to allow employees to remain at least 6 feet apart while they wait for screening.
    • To prevent stigma and discrimination, make employee health screenings as private as possible. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and maintain employee confidentiality. 
    • Provide screening materials in languages employees understand. CDC materials in languages other than english are available here: CDC Resources in languages other than English
  • Employees should monitor themselves for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms daily and report changes to the workplace/facility. Encourage employees who develop COVID-19 symptoms to get tested and refer them to the CDPHE Colorado COVID Symptom Support Tool.

Identify where and how employees might be exposed to COVID-19 at work.

  • Conduct a thorough hazard assessment using the NIOSH hierarchy of controls to determine if workplace hazards are present, or are likely to be present, and determine what type of controls are needed for specific job duties.
    • When engineering and administrative disease controls* cannot be implemented or are not fully protective, OSHA standards require employers to:
      • Determine what PPE is needed for their workers’ specific job duties.
      • Select and provide appropriate PPE to the workers at no cost.
      • Train their workers on correct PPE use.
    • Keep logs of where and with whom employees work (in other words, who works in what location and on which shifts) so it is easy to assist public health if an outbreak occurs and contact tracing is needed.
    • Re-arrange work shifts or units to allow cohorting of employees. This creates smaller groups of employees to work together consistently, rather than having individuals crossing into different shifts.

*Engineering controls refer to actions such as changing the workplace layout. Administrative controls refer to measures such as ensuring employees are following precautions.

Educate employees on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • The employer is responsible for providing training to employees and contractors about COVID-19 in a way the employee understands. It is best practice to document this training to show the training occurred.
  • Training should include facts about COVID-19 transmission, ways to protect oneself from COVID-19, the company’s policy and procedures in place to reduce COVID-19, and what to do when employees feel sick or become exposed.
  • The employer must inform workers of their rights to a safe workplace. This information must contain who to contact without fear of retaliation to express concerns for their safety in the workplace.
  • Ensure employees and customers wear masks, following state and local orders.
  • Promote proper hand washing. Post easy-to-follow signs on these techniques in languages employees and customers understand. 
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding in-person gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 6 feet) from others as much as possible. Continue to follow physical distancing in areas where masks will temporarily be removed, such as break and lunch rooms in order to eat or drink.
  • Avoid sharing equipment and personal items such as cell phones, keyboards, tools. If workers must share equipment, clean and disinfect items before and after use.

Know the difference between isolation and quarantine requirements, and ensure employees follow them.

  • Isolation is for sick people. Employees and others with symptoms or a positive COVID-19 viral test should stay home until they can discontinue isolation. Generally, this means:
    • 10 days have passed since symptoms started (or 10 days since their positive test if they did not have any symptoms), and 
    • The employee has been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine, and
    • Symptoms are improving.
  • Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease before a person knows that they are ill or infected with the virus without symptoms. People need to quarantine when they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (unless fully vaccinated; see vaccination section). People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department. It is possible that a person may have to quarantine more than once if they are exposed again following their quarantine.
    • Encourage employees who develop symptoms during this quarantine period to get tested and consult a health care provider if needed. The employee should also begin isolation based on the date of symptom onset or positive test (if no symptoms).
    • People  should be tested 5-7 days after exposure, and if they develop symptoms. People who are fully vaccinated do not need to be tested following an exposure if they remain asymptomatic.
Maintain healthy business operations

In the absence of an occupational health team, designate a workplace coordinator to be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact.

Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.

  • Review human resources policies to ensure policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and existing state and federal workplace laws. Ensure sick leave policies are flexible and employees are aware of and understand these policies. 
  • Draft “emergency sick leave” policies if you currently do not offer sick leave to some or all employees. 
  • Connect employees to employee assistance programs and community resources as needed.
  • Avoid incentive programs that encourage sick or exposed employees to come to work.
  • Allow time for workers to receive their COVID-19 vaccine and consider scheduling to allow for recovery from any temporary vaccination side effects.

Communicate supportive workplace policies clearly, frequently, and via a variety of media platforms.

  • Communicate with non-English speakers in their preferred languages.
  • Place signs about policies in languages workers can understand.
  • Communicate changes in policy and practice to contractors and onsite visitors. Ensure that they have the information and capability to comply with those policies.
  • Share policies with employees through multiple methods. Use email, text, signs, and verbal communication in meetings.
  • Tell employees when there are changes to policies. If there are no changes, remind employees of policies monthly.
  • Create and test communication systems that employees can use to self-report if they are sick and that you can use to notify employees of exposures and closures.
  • Consider using a hotline or other method for employees to voice concerns anonymously.

Assess essential job functions to reduce absenteeism and the reliance others have on your services or products.

  • Monitor absenteeism and have plans in place to continue essential functions if you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
  • Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate if key employees are absent.
  • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations. (For example, identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, stagger shifts, or temporarily suspend/reduce some of your operations.)
  • Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. 
  • If other companies provide your business with contract or temporary employees, talk with those staffing companies and the contract or temporary staff about the importance of sick employees staying home. Encourage those staffing companies to develop adequate leave policies.
  • When resuming onsite business operations, identify and prioritize job functions for continuous operations. Minimize the number of workers present at worksites by resuming business operations in phases, balancing the need to protect workers with support for continuing operations.
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

Establish policies and practices for physical distancing among employees. 

  • Implement flexible worksites (for example, remote work).
  • Implement flexible work hours.
  • Phase or stagger work shifts and breaks to reduce the number of employees in one place at the same time. 
  • Increase physical space between onsite employees by rearranging work stations, placing distance markers, installing partitions, discouraging the use of shared spaces, etc.
  • Implement flexible meeting and travel options; for example, postpone meetings and events or use teleconferencing.
  • Close or limit access to common areas where employees can mingle.
  • Discourage handshaking. Encourage employees to greet each other without contact (for example, smile and wave).
  • Downsize operations to reduce the number of employees at the workplace at the same time.

Establish policies and practices for physical distancing between employees and customers. 

  • Offer drive-through service, click-and-collect online shopping, shop-by-phone, curbside pickup, or delivery options.
  • Rearrange customer flow.
  • Place distance markers. 
  • Install partitions.
  • Limit the number of customers. 
  • Use touchless payment options. 
  • Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier.
  • Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours to reduce contact with customers.
  • Deliver services remotely (for example, by phone, video, or web).

Provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions based on local conditions.

Encourage all employees to get vaccinated.

  • The more people vaccinated in your workplace/facility, the lower the risk of an outbreak.
  • Fully vaccinated employees (those more than 2 weeks out from the final dose of their vaccine series) no longer need to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and remain asymptomatic. Not having to quarantine can reduce the risk of critical staffing issues if an outbreak were to occur. 
  • Information regarding the vaccines can be found on the CDPHE vaccine website.
  • Promotional materials and toolkits for workplaces are also available from CDPHE and CDC.

Employers should be prepared to provide accommodations for employees at higher risk for serious illness as requested by the ADA. Supportive policies, procedures, and personnel to engage in the interactive process are necessary. 

  • The employer who has employees who are eligible under the ADA may offer temporary modified duty assignments such as work from home or scheduling during non-peak hours. The treating physician will advise on what is or is not safe for the employee, which may or may not depend on vaccination status.

Advise employees who must travel to take additional precautions and follow CDC travel guidance.

  • Continue to minimize non-essential business travel for now.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 before starting travel. If they are sick they should notify their supervisor and stay home.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a health care provider for advice if needed.

Minimize risk to employees when planning meetings and gatherings.

  • If most employees are unvaccinated, use videoconferencing or teleconferencing for work-related meetings and gatherings when possible.
  • In-person meetings should be held in open, well-ventilated spaces. Unvaccinated employees should wear face coverings.
  • Understand that large gatherings, especially indoors among unvaccinated people, are higher risk. Follow local regulations and guidance.
Maintain a healthy work environment

Improve building ventilation. This may include some or all of the following:

  • Increase ventilation rates. Set rates to the highest settings allowed by the system.
  • Keep systems running longer hours, 24/7 if possible, to enhance air exchanges in the building space.
  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for the current occupancy level for each space.
  • Increase outdoor air ventilation, using caution in highly polluted areas. With a lower occupancy level in the building, this increases the effective dilution ventilation per person.
  • Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) settings.
  • Further open minimum outdoor air dampers (as high as 100%) to reduce or eliminate indoor air recirculation. In mild weather, this will not affect thermal comfort or humidity. However, this may be difficult to do in cold or hot weather.
  • Improve central air filtration to MERV-13 or the highest compatible with the filter rack, and seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.
  • Check filters to ensure they are within service life and appropriately installed.
  • Some of the above recommendations are based on the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Review these ASHRAE guidelines for further information on ventilation recommendations.
  • In buildings without HVAC systems, consider using portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters or open windows to increase outdoor air ventilation when feasible (using caution in highly polluted areas). More information on portable air cleaners can be found on the US EPA’s webpage: Air Cleaners and Air Filters in the Home.

Ensure the safety of water systems and devices from mold and Legionella after a prolonged shutdown.

Make it easy to follow the rules.

  • Enforce state and local mask orders for employees and customers. Workers who require PPE should wear appropriate PPE instead of a cloth face covering. 
  • Provide tissues and no-touch trash cans.
  • Provide soap and water or hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol in multiple locations. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. 
  • Schedule frequent breaks for employees to wash or sanitize their hands.
  • Provide disposable wipes so employees can wipe down commonly used surfaces before each use. Use products that meet EPA criteria and are appropriate for the surface.

Clean and disinfect.

  • Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace on a daily basis at a minimum, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Under certain circumstances, you might choose to either clean more frequently or disinfect (in addition to cleaning) in shared spaces: if there is high transmission of COVID-19 in your community, if there is a low number of people wearing masks, if hand hygiene is infrequent, or if the space is occupied by certain populations, such as people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using a detergent or soap and water before disinfection. For disinfection, use products that meet EPA criteria and are appropriate for the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Disinfectants and chemicals in the workplace can harm employees. All employers are responsible for a written program in compliance with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.  
  • Upon hire, and whenever a new chemical is introduced to the workplace, training must be provided at no cost to all employees on the physical and health hazards of the chemicals in the workplace. This includes hand sanitizers.  
  • Store and use disinfectants responsibly, according to the label.
  • Safety Data Sheets must be current (for all chemicals and agents to include hand sanitizers) and readily accessible to all users in the event of an exposure or reaction. 
  • Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products. This can cause toxic fumes.
  • Ensure cleaning crews wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used. They may need additional PPE based on the setting and product.
  • After people suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the workplace/facility, both cleaning and disinfection should be performed.

COVID-19 cases and exposures in employees

When a single employee has confirmed or probable COVID-19:

  • You probably will not need to shut down the workplace.
  • Send any sick employee who has reported to work home immediately.
  • Inform fellow employees of possible exposure.
  • Maintain the sick employee’s confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Clean and disinfect areas used by the sick person. Close off areas used by the sick person and wait as long as possible (at least several hours) prior to cleaning and disinfecting. Increase air circulation by opening doors and windows or using HVAC system or fans (taking care not to blow air into areas where people are located).
    • If less than 24 hours have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, clean and disinfect the space.
    • If more than 24 hours have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, cleaning is enough. You may choose to also disinfect depending on certain conditions or everyday practices required by your facility.
    • If more than 3 days have passed since the person who is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the space, no additional cleaning (beyond regular cleaning practices) is needed.
    • Follow the CDC's cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

When employee(s) have been exposed to a person with confirmed or probable COVID-19 (at work or elsewhere):

  • Non-essential workers with recent exposure to a person with COVID-19 should quarantine at home after exposure (unless fully vaccinated; see vaccination section) and self-monitor for symptoms and follow any other instructions provided by public health.
    • If they develop symptoms of COVID-19, they should get tested and begin isolation
    • If they do not have symptoms, they should be tested between day 5 and 7 since they were last with a person with COVID-19.
    • Remote work during quarantine is acceptable.
  • Employers should confer with public health authorities and consider creative solutions to maintain the essential functions of the workplace while allowing all those unvaccinated who were exposed to quarantine. However, while advisable, it is recognized that regular quarantine may not always be feasible for certain unvaccinated critical infrastructure workers (read our Critical Worker FAQ | Español for more information about those with work functions that cannot be performed by any other workers) with recent exposure to a person with COVID-19. In consultation with public health, these critical infrastructure workers may be allowed to continue reporting to their work site and should:
    • Be regularly screened and sent home if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Wear a face mask at all times during work.
    • Practice frequent and thorough hand hygiene.
    • Keep at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.
    • Ensure workspaces are cleaned and disinfected routinely.

COVID-19 outbreaks

Immediately report the suspected outbreak to public health and follow public health measures.

  • If the outbreak is uncontrolled, widespread, or of an unknown extent, the workplace/facility should temporarily close.  Managers must report the suspected outbreak to the local public health agency in the county where the workplace or facility is located. 
    • Fill out the CDPHE COVID-19 outbreak report form and send it to the local public health agency (via web form or emailing the PDF form).
    • Begin identifying staff with COVID-19-like symptoms using the CDPHE COVID-19 line list template.

Work with your local public health agency to determine if longer-term closing is necessary.

  • Workplaces/facilities may not need to close for an extended period if there is an outbreak. When a workplace/facility is working closely with public health, it may be possible to conduct a rapid risk assessment and implement immediate control measures instead of longer-term closing. Local public health will help:
    • Confirm whether an outbreak exists.
    • Identify additional cases.
    • Determine the extent of the outbreak.
    • Work with the facility to determine additional steps.
    • If closing is necessary, determine when it is safe to reopen.
Lessen the severity of the outbreak.

Follow the measures outlined throughout this guidance. Prioritize the following actions:

  • Keep employees with symptoms of COVID-19 away from the workplace and send employees who develop symptoms home immediately for isolation. Encourage them to get tested and consult a health care provider if needed. Do not encourage or allow sick employees to return to work until they meet criteria to discontinue isolation.
  • Send healthy employees with recent exposure to a person with COVID-19 home to quarantine (unless fully vaccinated; see vaccination section).
    • In COVID-19 outbreak situations, a quarantine of 14 days from the last exposure to a close contact is recommended.
    • Guidelines that permit certain critical infrastructure workers to report to their workplace during quarantine may not be possible, recommended, or safe during an extensive outbreak. Your local public health agency can help you determine whether or not exposed unvaccinated critical infrastructure workers can report to their workplace during their quarantine. Remote work from home is encouraged during quarantine when possible.
    • Compile information on healthy employees with recent exposure for the local public health agency.
  • Employers who have employees who have been deemed high risk by their health care provider may provide temporary alternative duty assignments that reduce their risk to COVID-19.
  • Encourage unvaccinated employees and customers to wear face coverings.
  • Actively screen employees daily for fever, COVID-19 symptoms, and recent COVID-19 exposure before they enter the workplace/facility. Document these daily checks using an employee health screening form
    • See the preventing outbreaks section for screening best practices.
    • Employees who don’t have fever, symptoms, or recent exposure should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
  • Clean and disinfect areas used by sick people. Close off areas used by the sick person and wait as long as possible (at least several hours) prior to cleaning and disinfecting. Increase air circulation by opening doors and windows or using HVAC system or fans (taking care not to blow air into areas where people are located).
  • Perform cleaning and disinfection, focusing on frequently touched surfaces.

Public health may require additional workplace/facility closure if widespread transmission continues to occur despite the above measures or if there are not enough staff available to run operations safely.

  • Consult with your local public health agency on when and how to re-open safely. 
  • Closure may need to last until enough staff have finished their appropriate isolation (if infected) or quarantine (if healthy but exposed) to safely resume operations.
  • Closure may need to last long enough until a full assessment of the situation and all necessary contact tracing has been completed.  
  • Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection before re-opening. Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment (like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATMs) used by the ill people, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
  • Public health may require additional steps to control the outbreak in certain situations.

Testing considerations

Be aware of the limitations of COVID-19 testing in the workplace.

Testing by itself cannot “clear” employees to work.

  • There are two main types of COVID-19 tests.
    • Viral tests (RT-PCR/nucleic acid or antigen detection) are the only way to confirm current COVID-19 infection. 
    • Antibody (serological) tests check a person’s blood to look for antibodies, which may determine a past COVID-19 infection. This does not necessarily mean the person is immune.
  • Employees with COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 using a viral test. 
    • Employees confirmed to have COVID-19 should stay at home until they meet criteria to discontinue isolation. 
    • All positive viral test results must be reported to CDPHE. Businesses doing onsite testing must ensure the laboratories that they contract with are aware of this requirement. 
  • CDPHE does not recommend re-testing people who have already been confirmed to have COVID-19 for 90 days following their positive molecular test.
  • In most circumstances, CDPHE does not recommend routine testing of healthy employees because test results alone should not clear them to return to work.
  • Routine viral testing of employees may be recommended in workplaces where there is an outbreak or in certain high-risk settings. In this case, routine testing would be part of a targeted response plan developed in conjunction with your local public health agency.
  • People with COVID-19 may receive negative viral test results if they get tested too soon after exposure. Following an exposure, individuals should be tested between 5-7 days after the last exposure. If someone has been exposed to COVID-19, that individual should quarantine (unless fully vaccinated; see vaccination section) and monitor for symptoms. The goal of testing some workers who don’t have symptoms is to identify workers who may be contagious. 
  • Any worker without symptoms who tests positive using a viral test must isolate for 10 days from the date of their test. If they develop symptoms during isolation, isolation will be extended.  
  • A negative test does not guarantee that a person will not develop COVID-19 in the future.
  • Anyone with recent close contact to a healthy worker who tests positive for COVID-19 using a viral test must quarantine (unless fully vaccinated; see vaccination section).
  • Do not use antibody tests to prove immunity, clear employees to work, or make decisions about grouping people in congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities.
    • Antibody tests do not test for current COVID-19 infection and do not necessarily prove immunity. Antibody tests might measure different types of antibodies, and these tests need to be interpreted differently under different circumstances.
      • In areas with low prevalence, false positives can still occur even among serologic (antibody) tests with relatively good specificity and sensitivity. 
      • Some antibody tests may be cross-reactive with other common coronaviruses and may not be specific for COVID-19, resulting in false positives. 
      • The FDA has removed some antibody tests from its authorized list because of quality issues.
  • One type of antibody test is a test for IgA. Until more information is available about the dynamics of IgA detection in serum, CDPHE does not recommend testing for IgA antibodies.

Preventing outbreaks

To reduce spread among staff:

 Employees should be screened daily, especially if unvaccinated or vaccination status is unknown. 

 Sick employees should be sent home and not allowed to enter the workplace or work in person.

 Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work.

 Educate employees on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including the benefits of vaccination.

 Know isolation and quarantine requirements, and help employees follow them.

To maintain healthy business operations:

 Designate a workplace coordinator to be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact.

 Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.

 Communicate supportive workplace policies clearly, frequently, and via multiple methods.

 Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others have on your services or products.

 Establish policies and practices for social distancing among employees.

 Establish policies and practices for social distancing between employees and customers.

 Provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions based on local conditions.

 Encourage employees to get vaccinated.

 Help employees who use shared transportation get to work.

 Provide accommodations for employees at higher risk for serious illness.

 Advise employees who must travel to take additional precautions.

 Minimize risk to employees when planning meetings and gatherings.

To maintain a healthy work environment:

 Improve building ventilation.

 Ensure the safety of your water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown.

 Make it easy to follow the rules on masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, and cleaning/disinfection.

 Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace.

 Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after people or employees suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the workplace/facility.

Reporting outbreaks

Workplaces/facilities that suspect an outbreak should immediately:

 Fill out the CDPHE COVID-19 outbreak report form and send it to your local public health agency.

 Begin identifying staff with COVID-19-like symptoms using the CDPHE COVID-19 line list template.  

 Work with your local public health agency on next steps. 

In case of an outbreak

 Send employees with symptoms of COVID-19 home immediately for isolation.  

 Identify healthy employees with recent exposure to a person with COVID-19, and send them home to quarantine and monitor for symptoms. Please see the critical infrastructure worker FAQ when applicable.

 Provide higher-risk employees work accommodations, such as telework.

 Work with your local public health agency to determine additional actions and whether/when it is safe to re-open.

 Be aware of the limitations of COVID-19 testing in the workplace.

For customers and employees who remain onsite:

 Encourage unvaccinated employees and customers to wear face coverings.

 Screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure daily (in-person or virtually) before they enter the workplace/facility.

 Close off areas used by sick people, and increase ventilation.

 Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection, focusing on frequently touched areas.

Vaccination considerations

 Encourage employees to get vaccinated to lower the risk of a workplace outbreak. Consider providing employees with the opportunity to get vaccinated via CDPHE’s workplace vaccination program.