COVID-19 Crisis Response

How Businesses Are Keeping People Safe

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A Collaborative Resource to Help Businesses and Policymakers Keep People Safe

Tools and best practices that can help guide the process of safely reopening our economy

Stand Together is a nonprofit organization and does not provide either medical or legal advice. Please consult a medical professional on how best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and a legal professional on how to comply with the laws applicable in your area.

As our country navigates the challenges of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to draw on the best knowledge from across society as business leaders and policymakers consider how to re-open the economy while maintaining a commitment to safety and public health. As public health officials continue to provide critical guidance, business leaders are an important partner in helping all Americans keep safe.

Stand Together is gathering best practices and guidelines from health officials, business leaders across industries, employees, and employers about what they are doing to protect public health while enabling people to work whenever possible. 

While not exhaustive, our goal is to provide a resource to help inform public policy and business decisions in the weeks and months ahead. We intend this to be a dynamic and continually updated resource, bringing together insights and creating a platform to solicit input from across the country in every sector of our economy.  

We are a philanthropic community that partners with hundreds of the country’s top business leaders who employ a combined 2 million people. Our partners work to address the country’s most difficult challenges through their businesses and their support for hundreds of organizations in communities across the country. Stand Together is convening our members and consulting other resources — along with an open call for organizations to share their input — to help businesses and policymakers navigate these challenging times.

How it can help

The decisions that business leaders are making are saving lives — both by limiting the spread of the virus and by keeping employees who are making the things people rely on safe and healthy. Businesses can learn from one another and these best practices can be more widely adopted. 

That first grocery store that decided to have an hour for the elderly and immunocompromised inspired hundreds if not thousands of other businesses to do the same for their customers. We’ve learned of many other ways that businesses are helping to keep their employees and customers safe and want to help others benefit from these lessons.

Officials are making unprecedented decisions and can benefit from a ground-level understanding from businesses about how they can best meet effective standards of public health while continuing to operate and safely employ people.  

There are universally recognized resources that offer currently available guidelines, such as the CDC’s Resources for Businesses and Employers. We’ve compiled insights from these along with information we’ve learned from one-on-one interactions with business leaders and employees from many companies across a range of industries.

We will be adding resources and insights to this on an ongoing basis. If you have an experience you think could benefit others, please email relevant documentation or other information to MakeADifference@standtogether.org

General principles that can be applied to fit a particular business situation

Because each business environment is different, no single set of safety rules will work for everyone, everywhere. The three principles defined below have emerged from the best practices we’ve come across. These can be applied in different ways across industry, geography, and type of work to help stop the spread of the virus, while continuing to operate a business. Principles such as these enable people to make the best decisions for their situation rather than prescriptive, one-size-fits-all measures that could be counterproductive, impossible to implement, or prevent safe work from continuing.

States that have instituted blanket bans on business operations may reconsider these in light of evidence that businesses can continue to operate while protecting public health and the experience of other states that have taken a still cautious, but less restrictive approach while meeting the following standards: 

  • Separation: Enable and support social distancing, including selecting the most appropriate location for your work, breaking people into groups, and limiting interactions.
  • Sanitation and protection: Clean and disinfect hands, objects, and work areas often, along with providing appropriate protective equipment wherever possible.
  • Communication: Leadership provides consistent guidelines and empowers local decisionmakers to apply them appropriately and operate with transparency.

It’s important to evaluate the level of risk as an individual and a business by geography:

  • How widespread is COVID-19 in your community? The New York Times has created a tool with statistics about the spread of coronavirus down to the county level. People can be asymptomatic and spread the virus, so while this is not a perfect indicator, it’s an important consideration.
  • Is there new, relevant information from local health authorities?
  • Have employees reported heightened risk due to age or pre-existing conditions?
  • Does your business require employees to interact with customers or items that increase likelihood of exposure to and spread of COVID-19?
  • Can you provide products or services without physical contact or change to outdoor locations?

The three principles in action: real world examples of what’s working

1. Separation:

  • If you can do your work from home, do that. Firms as diverse as BHPDeloitte, and Cigna are encouraging employees to work from home. Those who can contribute to reducing “contact load” voluntarily help all of us.
  • Steer clear! If you feel sick or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then isolate yourself as safely as possible. One business requires its service technicians who have been in a “hot spot” to quarantine for 14 days and pays them for time required to be away – though this time might end up getting shorter as more data becomes available. 
  • Where possible, some healthcare providers are moving their entry or check-in locations outdoors to provide social distancing.
  • Take a good, hard look at who needs to be on site at your location. Some businesses are requiring truck drivers coming on their property to not get out of their trucks during delivery. (BHP created a “roster system” to determine roles that are “critical to business continuity” and those that can be done from home.) 
  • Design layouts to maintain distance (as far as possible) between customers and workers. Employees should stay away from others’ equipment and food, too. Grocery stores such as Costco and Kroger have begun putting plexiglass dividers at the cash registers to protect both cashiers and shoppers.
  • Consider options like online ordering and curbside delivery rather than having customers come into the store, as we’ve seen Sherwin-Williams and Dick’s Sporting Goods doing.
  • Taping off six-foot intervals at any place where customers or employees gather can remind people of social distancing guidelines. CVS is creating six-foot boxes for customers to stand in at checkout.
  • Pharmacies and other businesses that can are encouraging drive-through for as many services as possible and even adding commonly purchased items to be available at drive-through windows to encourage people to stay in their vehicles.
  • Assigning employees to teams with specific colors, staggering shifts, or providing different break areas by team can help with social distancing. 
  • Stagger shift times, but don’t overlap. Turner is staggering arrival and departure times for pre-shift meetings.

2. Sanitation:

  • Empower employees to sanitize their working areas but follow on with rigorous sanitation procedures. 
  • Ensure air circulation. Jiffy Lube is opening doors and windows, and Chipotle is improving air treatment systems.
  • Adjust entry and exit points to be touchless where possible. Countries in Asia have already or are in the process of adjusting elevator buttons to be touchless, as an example. 
  • Provide and/or encourage usage of masks, gloves, hairnets, and other protective equipment. Walmart is making masks and gloves available to employees who want to wear them.

3. Communication:

  • Lead with empathy and communicate with staff often. Consider the best source for communicating information. Local managers and HR leaders may be better able to connect important information with staff, rather than a broad announcement from headquarters, in the case of large companies. 
  • Speak with staff to understand concerns, source ideas, and address unease and ensure they have access to resources and opportunities to report problems or ways to address challenges. Rio Tinto is increasing leadership presence on worksites to facilitate communication with employees.
  • Apple has partnered with the CDC to provide a tool to help individuals determine whether they should be screened for COVID-19. 
  • The CDC is providing guidance on staying safe and coping through the crisis.

Guidelines and Insights by Industry

Construction
  • Firms are increasingly limiting access to their offices and building sites. Clark Construction is closing its offices to outside visitors and Skanska is utilizing new screening measures at jobsite entry gates. Turner is restricting access to employees who are “essential to project continuity.”
  • A number of firms are building hand washing stations and sanitization stations onsite. Suffolk is putting wash stations and paper towel dispensers next to every field office entry and exit, and Skanska is providing additional hand sanitizer to employees. 
  • Construction businesses are increasingly sanitizing high-touch areas, including bathroom handles, microwaves, and shared equipment such as tools and vehicles. Skanska is requiring a third-party specialist conduct the cleaning, and Suffolk is providing additional laborers to increase cleaning and sanitation. Suffolk also increased scheduled bathroom cleanings to three times a week. 
  • Suffolk and Clark Construction are implementing rotational schedules for management staff to limit the number of individuals onsite at one time. Turner is staggering arrival and departure times for employees to prevent crowding. 
  • Partner Engineering and Science is encouraging employees to conduct video call inspections or take interior photos so they can work remotely as much as possible. 
  • Skanska is mandating the use of “coated gloves” at all times as well as additional personal protective equipment when construction activity does not permit social distancing.
  • Firms are implementing stricter sick policies. Skanska endorsed a zero-tolerance for working sick, and Turner requires workers to stay home if they are not feeling well. 
  • Some firms have enlisted third-party health care professionals to provide staff with assistance at the first signs of illness. Partner Engineering and Science purchased subscriptions for virtual doctor visits for the entire staff.
  • Suffolk is providing extra trash receptacles and emptying them twice a day (or as needed).
Energy
  • National Grid PLC has housed about 400 of its employees on various job sites to ensure continuous energy grid operation. It rented them trailers to live in and to use for laundry and showers. The company also provides three meals a day to its employees at its Massachusetts site. 
  • A number of energy companies, including ExxonHalliburtonBaker HughesSchlumberger, and BP are encouraging employees to work from home where possible. 
  • Energy firms like Exxon and Schlumberger are increasingly sanitizing high-touch areas such as telephones, keyboards, and door handles. Chevron is cleaning these areas every 30 minutes. 
  • To comply with social distancing guidelines, Exxon is adjusting office layouts and operating procedures, BP is changing shift patterns, and Schlumberger introduced flexible work hours. BP and Schlumberger are also restricting access to their locations and buildings.
  • Chevron and BP are providing gloves and other personal protective equipment to employees. 
  • Energy firms are placing restrictions on employee travel. Halliburton and Baker Hughes are severely limiting noncritical travel, and Exxon is implementing a mandatory 14-day work from home for employees returning from areas with “sustained community transmission.”
  • One oil services company is making hand sanitizer available at all locations.
  • The Solar Energy Industry Association is recommending that firms have minimal contact with customers by greeting them from a distance and calling ahead so both parties are prepared to properly social distance. The association also recommends rescheduling installment if the customer is sick or experiencing symptoms of illness. 
  • Many energy firms and associations, including Halliburton and the Solar Energy Industry Association, are requiring that any employees exhibiting flu-like symptoms stay home from work.
Health and Education Services
  • The Cleveland Clinic conducted 200,000 telemedicine appointments in April, up from a previous average of 3,400 per month. Such virtual visits saved patients the hazard and inconvenience associated with in-person appointments. 
  • Health care providers such as Medstar Health and the University of Virginia hospital system have switched to telehealth to continue serving patients unaffected by COVID-19. University Hospitals is monitoring coronavirus patients at home using wearable sensors that track oxygen levels in their blood. The sensors alert a patient’s physician if their oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels, enabling them to receive ER care when necessary.
  • Some health care service providers are transitioning to prescription and medical supply delivery to limit face-to-face interaction. Cigna is offering free home delivery of supplies and medications, and Centene is relaxing restrictions for home and mail delivery. 
  • Many firms, including ThermoFisherCignaHumana, and CVS Health are encouraging employees to work from home when possible. 
  • United Health and ThermoFisher are implementing strict visitation restrictions to limit the number of individuals allowed onsite. 
  • Universities across the country, including Harvard, the University of Illinois system, and UPenn are transitioning to remote learning to comply with social distancing guidelines.
  • Numerous schools have canceled events and restricted tours and visitor access. Harvard has closed its museum, moved all events online, and is requiring any visitor from a location with a CDC level 3 travel warning to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • A joint statement from the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and the American Hospital Association provides a roadmap for resuming elective surgeries. The document provides “principles and considerations to guide physicians, nurses, and local facilities in their resumption of care in operating rooms and all procedural areas,” including a sustained reduction in local COVID-19 cases and appropriate levels of staffing, supplies, and beds. It also recommends using telemedicine, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants for pre-operative evaluations.
Leisure and Hospitality
  • Pepper transitioned a mobile app initially intended to connect food suppliers to restaurants into a direct-to-consumer service. Its Pepper Pantry app now connects consumers to high-quality restaurant ingredients, which also helps minimize food waste.  
  • Uber is now requiring its drivers and delivery persons to confirm they have complied with a safety checklist and are wearing a mask prior to going online to serve customers. Its new technology verifies a driver’s mask using selfies and informs riders of this protection via text message. In addition, Uber requires riders to complete a similar checklist, verifying they have washed their hands and covered their faces, too. Riders are required to sit in the back seat and open the window for ventilation. In North America, Uber has partnered with Clorox to provide disinfecting tips and cleaning supplies to both riders and drivers. 
  • United partnered with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to launch United CleanPlus. The program includes “touchless kiosks in select locations for baggage check-in, sneeze guards, mandatory face coverings for crew and customers, and giving customers options when flights are more full.”
  • Texas restaurants such as Cane Russo and Kenny & Ziggy’s now require reservations for in-person dining, to prevent crowding and to preserve distancing. Restaurants have switched to online-only menus and single-use menus in lieu of traditional laminated ones. Restaurants in Virginia, Maine, and Nevada have opened for outside dining on sidewalks. Some local governments, including Berkeley, California, have provided additional outdoor dining space by closing streets to car traffic. 
  • The Brooklyn Chophouse is wrapping place settings and silverware in plastic wrap, and having customers go through an ultraviolet thermal scanner prior to entering the dining room. Brooklyn Dumpling House is going touch-free, with customers ordering by phone and picking their orders up from lockers. 
  • Twisted Citrus, a breakfast café in North Canton, Ohio, invented a solution for sit-down dining: separating tables with clear shower curtain liners. In addition, the café designed a new floor plan that reduces seating capacity from 80 to 55 and rearranged tables to face back to back, limiting contact between guests.
  • Filmmakers such as Baltasar Kormakur and Lucas Foster are experimenting with new safety procedures so they can return to production. These procedures include color-coded armbands that limit crew members to particular areas, security guards who monitor social distancing compliance, and universal testing prior to starting production.
  • McDonald’s produced a 59-page reopening guide for its restaurants. The guide suggests installing foot-pulls so guests can open bathroom doors without using their hands, and either closing or closely monitoring public soda fountains. McDonald’s is following Ecolab Inc.’s sanitation standards, as well as having employees clean bathrooms and wipe down high-touch surfaces every half hour.
  • Coffee shops such as Caffe Amouri are re-opening with online ordering and outside-the-store pick-up. Caffe Amouri is also facilitating employee distancing through taped-off, separate work stations, and has provided employees with face shields.
  • A number of hotel chains, including Marriott and Hilton, have adopted flexible work hours, shorter work weeks, and job rotations to limit the number of employees in their facilities. Marriott is closing onsite food and beverage outlets and Love’s is transitioning roller grills and coffee bars to “full-service” by a Love’s team member.
  • Some hospitality firms are changing procedures to increase social distancing. Wynn Resorts is altering gaming and dining room layouts to create “appropriate distancing.” Love’s is pushing customers to use its app for mobile pay and mobile shower check-in. 
  • Airbnb has implemented stricter cleaning processes that include setting the temperature of washers and driers to the maximum setting, providing hand sanitizer and cleaning products to guests, and emptying the vacuum cleaner after each use. G6 Hospitality is emphasizing the importance of its cleaning protocols and using chemicals that kill influenza.
  • Some hotels and resorts are moving to single use supplies and/or specifically increasing the cleaning process for them. The Texas Lodging Associationrecommends switching to single-use dining products and J. Wakefield Brewing is serving beer in “one-time-use” plastic cups. Wynn Resorts is cleaning, refreshing, or discarding gaming supplies throughout the day.  
  • Many hotels are placing sanitation stations throughout their properties. Wynn Resorts is placing hand sanitizer throughout public and back-of-house locations and Love’s is placing additional hand sanitizing stations at all locations. 
  • Airbnb circulated a checklist of items to clean and disinfect before each new guest arrives to ensure hosts are maintaining proper levels of hygiene. Ecolab released a cleaning guide for hotels. 
  • MGM launched its “Together at Home” initiative that will feature virtual events and live streams of MGM’s entertainment partners to continue operating while social distancing. 
  • Many airlines are increasing their cleaning and sanitization standards. Delta and United are wiping down high-touch areas such as lavatories, galleys, tray tables, and arm rests between each flight and are using electrostatic foggers to disinfect the air. Southwest is ensuring a six-hour cleaning process for each plane. 
  • A number of airlines, including Delta and American, are enforcing social distancing through relaxed seating policies that include blocking middle seats and reducing the number of customers on each flight. Delta is also changing its boarding process to allow customers to board back-to-front, which will decrease face-to-face contact. 
  • Airlines are providing both employees and customers with increased access to hand sanitizer. American is giving hand sanitizer to crew members on international flights, Frontier Airlines is distributing hand sanitizer at gates and ticket counters, and JetBlue is providing customers with disinfecting wipes. 
  • Delta is providing face masks to employees and encouraging customers to bring their own. 
  • American is requiring flight attendants to wear masks on regional and mainline flights, as well as beginning to provide customers with masks and sanitizing wipes or gels.
  • Many airlines are altering food service to reduce touch points. American is suspending snacks and food purchases on all flights except “long-haul international flights” and Delta streamlined food and beverage service by offering pre-departure beverages. 
  • Restaurants are closing their in-person operations and are shifting to pick-up and delivery. In some states, restaurants have begun selling alcohol with takeout and delivery orders. Bungalow started a subscription service where customers can sign up for beer, bread, and pizza deliveries, and Zaykatransitioned to carry-out only. 
  • In some states, restaurants have transitioned to makeshift markets. Dante’s Fire and Lemon Shark Poke are serving as pop-up grocery stores selling things such as eggs and toilet paper. 
  • Many restaurants are increasing their cleaning and sanitization efforts. Chick-fil-a is deploying handwashing stations to all open locations and is providing sanitizing wipes to employees. Diced is disinfecting high-touch areas every 15 minutes during peak times, and Denny’s is placing hand sanitizing stations at all locations. 
  • Some restaurants are requiring employees to wear personal protective equipment. Chick-fil-aB.C. Tacos, and Grateful Hospitality Group are requiring employees to wear gloves.
  • Some restaurants are altering their packaging processes, selling prepackaged food, and limiting access to shared areas. Pollo Tropical removed its self-service sauce bar but is selling prepackaged sauces at the counter. Mister Jiu’s is creating packages of its products to sell in grocery stores. Shake Shack is placing orders in fully-sealed bags and is limiting access to condiments, utensils, and former self-serve items to staff.
  • The Farmers Restaurant Group has launched Founding Farmers Market, an online retail market and grocery, complete with delivery services. It has turned its restaurants into fulfillment and delivery centers and is hiring back employees to service them.
Manufacturing
  • Tesla’s Return to Work Playbook includes major changes to factory operations, including suspending visitation and tours, reducing shuttle occupancy to 50 percent, and implementing touchless services for employees who interact directly with customers. Tesla asked employees to avoid public transit and carpooling, and to wash their personal protective equipment daily. It also is increasing the percentages of fresh air intake and air turnover in its factory HVAC systems. Its 15-minute “COVID and Coming to Work” video is required for all department employees returning to work.
  • A number of manufacturing firms, including Collins AerospaceHoneywellRaytheon, and GM are encouraging work from home where possible. 
  • Manufacturing firms are increasingly sanitizing plants and providing employees with hand washing stations and increased access to hand sanitizer. GEis installing hundreds of handwashing stations in its plants, and GM has increased cleaning and sanitizing throughout its operations. Georgia Pacific is asking employees to sanitize their work areas at least twice per shift. 
  • Honeywell and Raytheon have transitioned to virtual meetings and are limiting visitor access to onsite facilities. Georgia Pacific is screening visitors and making sure they use hand sanitizer. Other firms are restricting nonessential employees from entering the worksite entirely; one firm relied on site leaders with best site knowledge to make decisions about access. 
  • Some firms like Georgia Pacific are marking the floor with tape every six feet in communal areas to help provide visual guidance of the six-foot social distancing rule. Georgia Pacific is also requesting that employees stagger their lunch breaks, do not share food, and do not carpool.
  • One manufacturer staggered shifts and considered expanding overall site hours to ensure continued output. Another firm staggered breaks and lunches to reduce staff in break rooms, and another separated groups of employees into different break areas. 
  • One firm assigned employees to smaller teams to limit their contact with others and assigned team colors to help employees with social distance.
  • Firms are closing plants in COVID-19 hotspots, but not implementing a blanket closures. GM shuttered production at all facilities in North America due to the high number of cases but is monitoring each facility weekly to reopen in a systematic and orderly approach that minimizes risk to workers. 
  • One manufacturer tracked travel to customer sites to understand travel routes and assess level of outbreak.
  • One firm implemented daily training and sends a daily reminder to continuously connect staff to guidelines, in addition to providing updates through posted notices and video boards.
  • Ford has begun implementing Samsung wristbands that vibrate to notify employees when they pass within six feet of each other. While Ford has not yet resumed automobile manufacturing in the United States, it has debuted this technology in plants where it is producing ventilators and respirators for hospitals responding to COVID-19.
Mining
  • A number of firms, including Newmont and Rio Tinto, are increasing onsite screening by using a questionnaire to determine an employee’s risk factors. Newmont is also restricting site access to business-critical visits, essential deliveries, and critical contract workers. 
  • When possible, NewmontRio Tinto, and Glencore are establishing flexible and remote working plans. BHP implemented a “roster system” to determine office-based roles that are critical to business continuity while encouraging other employees to work from home. 
  • Many mining firms are implementing strict social distancing protocols. Rio Tinto is limiting the number of employees in pre-start meetings and reconfiguring travel coordination to ensure a six-foot distance between traveling employees. Newmont has suspended all large in-door gatherings and is staggering start times for pre-start meetings. 
  • BHP is extending operating hours of dining halls to increase social distancing and is increasingly providing take-away and pre-packaged food options along with pre-packed condiments and utensils. 
  • A large number of mining firms have implemented increased sanitization and cleaning measures. Glencore has started enhanced hygiene and cleaning measures while Newmont has increased the frequency of deep cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. Rio Tinto is encouraging hand washing before entering shared dining rooms, increasing the cleaning frequency of high-touch areas, and providing extra hand sanitizer. BHP is equipping heavy equipment, trucks, and light vehicles with extra cleaning supplies and is conducting deep cleans between weekly staff changeovers.
  • A growing number of firms, including NewmontGlencore, and BHP, have enacted restrictions or outright bans on international and nonessential travel. 
  • Newmont is enforcing mandatory self-quarantine for any employee who has recently traveled abroad, has flu-like symptoms, or has had direct contact with a person known to have COVID-19. 
  • Rio Tinto is increasing leadership presence on sites to facilitate communication with employees and share the most up-to-date safety guidelines. 
  • Rio Tinto and BHP are implementing safety precautions for host communities, including supplying masks and funds to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Professional/business services
  • Home Team Plumbing Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, developed a new safety routine to keep operating throughout the crisis. It includes an immediate shower after a job, followed by completely sanitizing gear. The business’s costs have increased 7 percent, including the costs of masks, gloves and sanitizer, but it has not raised rates, and has worked with customers who find immediate payment difficult. 
  • Strategic Communications firm Pinkston released a plan for reopening its office that included human safe UV lighting, titanium dioxide surface coating, daily cleaning with electrochemically activated water, and continuous air-quality monitoring.
  • Consulting firm Accenture published “COVID-19: 5 priorities to help reopen and reinvent your business.” It recommends retraining programs for furloughed workers, as well as new learning programs and career pathways.
  • The Real Estate Board of New York released guidelines for commercial real estate managers preparing for reopening. It included considerations such as no longer requiring entrants to hand over ID cards, promoting the use of stairs instead of elevators, and the use of UV light sanitizing or electrostatic spraying.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce created a Digital Resources Center, including a map of state-by-state policies and links to outside resources specific to particular states and sectors, as well as a playbook for small businesses.
  • Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield released a re-opening guide for building owners and employers. It recommends measures such as no-touch light switches, doors, and drawers, as well as disabling touch screens.
  • Real estate development firm PAULS has released standards its building will follow upon re-opening. It will limit elevators to three people at a time as well as limiting the mail room to one person at a time, and will post a sign directory for visitors to use instead of their normal screen directory.  
  • Large professional service firms are increasing efforts to sanitize their corporate offices. Accenture is encouraging the regular sanitization of its offices, and Deloitte has deployed sanitization stations on each floor of their offices. These stations include hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial surface spray, and wipes. 
  • A number of firms, including Accenture and Deloitte, are canceling or severely restricting non-essential travel. SmithGroup has gone further and is restricting travel to high-risk counties identified by the CDC and Kuth Ranieri Architects is imposing a 14-day quarantine on any employee returning from abroad. 
  • Professional/business service firms are encouraging employees to work from home and move meetings to virtual platforms like Zoom to “de-densify” workspaces. Many of these firms, such as Deloitte, have existing work-from-home policies with the requisite IT infrastructure; however, some firms, such as Coughlin and Gerhart LLP, are currently investing in that infrastructure to ease the transition to telework. 
  • Firms like SmithGroup that are keeping their offices open are increasingly restricting who can come into the office, banning both visitors and vendors until further notice. 
  • Firms with necessary face-to-face client interaction like Comcast are facilitating scheduling changes to schedule services during nonpeak office hours and rescheduling appointments if a client has sick employees. 
  • Numerous banks are encouraging customers to use mobile apps and drive-through locations instead of coming into the building. Arvest Bank is moving to appointment-only in-person services and BBVA closed all branch lobbies. In addition to drive-through locations, Bank of America is deploying 12 mobile units to designated areas. You can read more about the banking industry’s response here.
  • For staff that must work onsite, one bank separated HQ staff into three separate locations to enable social distancing and disallowed travel between these locations to minimize potential spread. 
Retail
  • The Retail Industry Leaders Association and National Retail Federation released “Open for Business – A Blueprint for Shopping Safe.” The blueprint divides safety protocols by phases, beginning with contactless curbside pick-up and in-home delivery. It progresses to re-opening stores with enhanced sanitation, social distancing and reduced occupancy. It also provides tips for worker safety, such as capping gatherings and meetings at a maximum of 10 people, and eliminating handshakes.
  • Grocery stores, including Broad Brand Market, Schnucks Markets, and Walmart are using robots for delivery, cleaning, and stocking. Similarly, restaurants in Fairfax, Virginia, are using sidewalk drones from Starship Technologies to make contactless deliveries.
  • Kroger uses in-store audio messaging, released every 15 minutes, to remind customers to practice social distancing and sanitation. It posts signs outside stores asking customers feeling sick not to enter. And it has closed in-store bars, public seating areas, self-serve bars, and bulk-bin options.
  • Stores are increasing cleanings and regularly sanitizing high-touch areas such as shopping carts, baskets, and check-out stations. Kroger is wiping down credit card machines, touch screens, baskets, carts, and belts after each customer uses them. Many stores have altered their hours to dedicate more time to cleaning. 
  • Grocery stores are dedicating shopping hours for customers who are elderly or have pre-existing conditions. Aldi and Costco are reserving the first hour of business on select days for “senior shopping” and those with physical impairments. 
  • Stores like Jiffy Lube are opening windows and doors to help with ventilation. Chipotle is improving air treatment systems. 
  • Employees are provided with and allowed to wear personal protection equipment, including masks and gloves. Walmart is making masks and gloves available to employees who want to wear them, Kroger changed its personal protection policy to allow employees to wear masks and face shields. 
  • Many stores have begun limiting the number of customers within the store in a given time and have placed tape at six-foot intervals to allow for social distancing while shopping. Safeway is limiting occupancy to one person per 150 square feet and increasing that to 300 square feet during special hours reserved for seniors. CVS is creating six-foot squares for customers to stand in at checkout. 
  • Employees are helping set up safe lines outside the store. H-E-B is setting up lines to limit the number of customers in the store and prevent crowding at checkout.
  • Walmart and Giant began directing shopping flow through one-way aisles to stop chokepoints from occurring and help with social distancing. 
  • Large chains like Costco and Kroger are placing plexiglass at check-out stations.
  • Trader Joe’s is asking customers who bring reusable bags to bag their groceries so employees do not have to handle bags that could be contaminated. Target has stopped selling reusable bags and is no longer accepting returned items. 
  • Multiple stores are providing curbside pick-up options. Sherwin-Williams shifted to curbside pickup and at Dick’s Sporting Goods employees place items directly into customers’ trunks to avoid face-to-face interaction.
  • Amazon has announced it is developing a COVID-19 testing laboratory for its employees. In addition, the company has also made 150 “significant process changes” to improve safety, including daily audits to ensure compliance. These measures have enabled the company to continue fulfilling customer orders and hire an additional 100,000 employees, with 75,000 more hires anticipated.