7 steps for a safe reopening post-coronavirus

As more states examine some kind of reopening — and others dream of it — everyone agrees that taking a proactive approach to staff and client health is a paramount concern.

With that in mind, the Maryland Association of CPAs has put together a compendium of best practices, guidance and more from federal, state and local sources called “Reopening the Profession: An Accounting and Finance Professional’s Guide to Safe Work in a COVID-19 World.

“Reopening our businesses in this environment goes way beyond unlocking the door and turning on the lights. It’s a complex process that involves considerations in a number of areas, including health care, human resources, business strategy, and risk management,” said MACPA president and CEO Tom Hood, in a statement. “A number of agencies have released terrific guidance on how to protect our teams and organizations as we return to work. This document is an authoritative collection of what we believe is the best advice available.”

At the core of the free document are seven key practices, listed below.

Keep your distance
Reconfigure your office, your workflows and your foot traffic so that people can maintain a safe space around themselves — and keep as many people working from home as you can.
Keep your masks on
In spaces accessible to the public, like lobbies, hallways and elevators banks, face coverings should be required — and firms can consider requiring them in internal spaces like meeting rooms and kitchen.
Keep your hands to yourself
A worker sprays sanitizer into the hands of a shopper at a supermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa in May.
A worker sprays sanitizer into the hands of a shopper at a supermarket in May.
Wherever possible, firms should minimize the need for staff to touch things — and where it isn’t possible, they should clean frequently.
Keep the quarantine
Coronavirus remote work telecommuting
Claire Tu, an employee at Reprise Digital, works from her home in Shanghai during the coronavirus outbreak.
Staff who display symptoms of COVID-19 or have had significant exposure to sick people should self-quarantine for 14 days.
Keep them informed
A sign advising of social distancing measures in place stands on display at the entrance to a Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. supermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday, May 11, 2020.
A sign advising of social distancing measures at a supermarket in May.
Make the rules above clear to everyone with lots of signs and whatever else will get the message across.
Keep clean
Five litre bottles of 70% hand sanitizing gels sit on the production line at Cleenol Group Ltd.'s factory in Banbury, U.K., on Friday, March 6, 2020. The stockpiling crisis that has hit supermarkets across Asia has spread to Europe as consumers start hoarding groceries and hygiene products amid fears of a coronavirus pandemic. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Hand sanitizing gel being manufactured
Make sure to provide enough cleaning supplies and places for staff to wash their hands.
Keep up to date on travel advisories
A traveler checks in at the Delta Air Lines counter in San Francisco on April 2.  Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
A traveler checks in at the Delta Air Lines counter in San Francisco in April.
For staff who need to travel, firms should check the “Traveler’s Health Notices from the Centers for Disease Control" before they go anywhere.