Utah’s Health Guidance System
Economic recovery is not like flipping a switch, it’s more like moving a dial. The color-coded health guidance system will guide Utahns as we make adjustments to open businesses, but still keep our most at risk populations safe. Public health and economic opportunity are intrinsically linked. Utahns and businesses must strictly follow the health guidance of each color or risk backtracking and causing greater economic harm. View the business guidelines below by choosing which risk phase your business is in.
COVID-19 Business Manual
The COVID-19 Business Manual is a step-by-step plan from the Utah Department of Health to protect your business and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is important to look at how your business operates and make a plan to make your worksite healthier. You can use this guidance throughout the pandemic, no matter what color of the Utah Color-Coded Health Guidance your community is in. The manual has up-to-date recommendations from the UDOH, CDC, OHSA, and U.S. Department of Labor.
Some of the information you will find in the manual:
- Keeping your business open and what you should do if an employee is exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19
- Answers to questions business owners have about requirements for quarantine and isolation, sick leave, and tax credits
- Cleaning after a positive case of COVID-19
- Testing employees for COVID-19
- How to protect your worksite, operations, and employees
- Essential and critical infrastructure sector employees
Responding to COVID-19 in your business
As we loosen restrictions and help the economy, we also increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. We must open things up in a measured and strategic way, to protect both the health of Utahns and our economy.
Our goal is to keep your business open during the pandemic.
The goal of the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) is to help you keep your employees healthy and your business open during the pandemic. We want to help you keep your worksite safe for employees and customers.
- COVID-19 spreads very easily and quickly. Even if you and your employees are doing everything right, your business may see cases of COVID-19. We want to help you plan ahead and make sure you know what to do if that happens, without having to shut down your business.
- COVID-19 is a new disease. We learn more every day about the disease and the best ways to stop it from spreading. We know this makes it very hard for business owners to know what to do.
- This guidance is a step-by-step plan to protect your business and prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is important to look at how your business operates and make a plan to make your worksite healthier.
These guidelines are specific to COVID-19, but many are good ideas for you to consider making a permanent part of your business plan. When you are updating your plan, keep in mind the Utah Department of Health has many other resources for your business to help you keep employees healthy and prevent illness in the future. If you are interested in other ways we can help, such as bringing health screenings right to your worksite at no cost to you, you can contact our Worksite Team for more information.
Keeping your business open if an employee is exposed to or tests positive for COVID-19
Cleaning after a positive case of COVID-19
If you can’t wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas during this waiting period.
We still have much to learn about COVID-19. From what we know right now about the virus and about similar coronaviruses, COVID-19 is most easily spread from close contact (within about 6 feet). The virus is spread by respiratory droplets. We don’t know yet if, or how easily, it spreads with infectious aerosols (droplets in the air that another person inhales).
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. From what we know, COVID-19 can live on surfaces for hours to days. We are still learning many things about COVID-19 and how it spreads.
Testing your employees for COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Utah Department of Health DO NOT recommend asymptomatic testing (testing people who do not have symptoms) for all employees. Most businesses do not need to have employees who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 get tested.
At this time, the Utah Department of Health only does asymptomatic testing for certain groups of people. Some of these groups include people who had a close contact exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, first responders, vulnerable populations, long-term care facilities, communities where many people do not have access to testing, Tribal Nations, and in areas or facilities where an outbreak has happened or is likely to happen.
Employees with symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested.
If you can’t do a temperature check on an employee, ask the employee if he or she is feeling feverish (the employee’s skin may feel hot or be red, or he or she may have chills or be sweaty).
The state maintains a spreadsheet that lists Utah vendors for personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, sanitizer and disinfectant. If you’re a Utah organization in need of PPE for your workforce or on-site visitors, we encourage you to reach out to other Utah companies that can provide those products. View the spreadsheet here.
If you’re a Utah company that has made, or can make, PPE, please submit your information here.
If you have PPE to donate to help support Utah small businesses, please submit your information here.
Protecting Higher-Risk Individuals
In every phase of COVID-19 risk identified in the Utah Leads Together plan, high-risk individuals and the companies that employ them should follow instructions issued by the Utah Department of Health.
Individuals in higher-risk categories, including those who are immunocompromised, should continue to follow stricter protocols, and exercise all possible caution. Individuals who work or live with persons in higher-risk categories should also continue following stricter guidance.
Download Protecting Higher-Risk Individuals (PDF)
Outbreak Response Plan
Employers should prepare an Outbreak Response Plan using the following process:
- Ensure the plan is flexible and involves employees in development and review.
- Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using the plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
- Share the plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available.
- Share best practices with other businesses in the community (especially those within the supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.
Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School, said recently in the Harvard Business Review that a plan should be complemented by a company’s “ability to rapidly evaluate ongoing changes in the environment and develop responses based on simple principles.” The companies best capable of that evolution have:
- Engaged and informed networks rather than hierarchical command and control.
- Distributed leadership rather than centralized bureaucracy.
- A less interdependent business structure among operating groups.
- A dispersed workforce.
- Cross-trained generalists rather than a few specialists.
- Simple and flexible rules rather than procedure driven policies.
Resilience in a Box
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, UPS Foundation, World Economic Forum (WEF) and Disaster Resistant Business (DRB) Toolkit Workgroup have developed a “Resilience in a Box” program based on best practices and designed to educate newcomers on business resilience. The program guides companies toward addressing preparedness issues while building in flexibility to handle potential business interruptions.
Corporate Policy Recommendations
The United States Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Centers For Disease Control, recommends companies:
- Ensure sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and employees are aware of these policies.
- Speak with vendors that provide contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
- Do not require a health care provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or return to work, as medical providers are extremely busy and likely unable to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
For more information, view the U.S. Chamber’s Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond to the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Should an Emergency Remote Work Plan become necessary due to infection among employees, family members, or the community at large, Cali Williams Yost, CEO and founder of Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit recommends the following:
- Acknowledge the possibility that all or part of your workforce may need to work remotely.
- Map out jobs and tasks that could be affected.
- Audit available IT hardware and software, and close any gaps in access and adoption.
- Set up a communications protocol in advance.
- Identify ways to measure performance that could inform broader change.
Detailed information concerning these recommendations are included in “What’s Your Company’s Emergency Remote-Work Plan?” Harvard Business Review, February 28, 2020.
Employees With Affected Family Members
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Act requires certain small employers (those with less than 500 employees) to provide limited paidleave benefits to employees who are affected by the COVID-19 emergency. Small employers are given new tax credits and federal payroll-tax relief to pay for the new mandatory benefits. Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:
- Up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined due to COVID-19
- Up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a need to care for an individual subject to COVID-19 quarantine, or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
- For more information regarding covered employers, eligible employees, and qualifying reasons for leave, visit this link.
FFCRA Questions and Answers