CDC Issues Guidelines That Could Change The Way We Work


No fist bumps or handshakes. No carpooling or coffee pots. Face masks everywhere.

Americans who start returning to office jobs will find a substantially different environment than the one they left weeks ago, if their employers follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

While restaurants, resorts and retail stores have started reopening, many businesses with employees who can more easily telework have said they plan to stay closed at least until Labor Day. But the economic devastation of the pandemic has hit white-collar workers, too, with law firms, management companies and other firms laying off or furloughing staff.

Some CDC recommendations would require investment in new equipment to improve ventilation and air filtration, and to attempt to kill germs with ultraviolet light. The guidelines call for rearranging furniture to keep workers six feet apart, and physical barriers to separate them. Trash cans that require lifting a lid should be replaced with no-touch options.

Other guidance would be a struggle for many companies to implement without moving into larger, more expensive spaces – especially to keep workers six feet apart, even on elevators.

The CDC recommendations say workers should be encouraged to drive alone rather than sharing rides or taking public transportation. Communal drinks and snacks should be replaced with single-use items. Work stations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, printers and copiers, drinking fountains, and doorknobs should be sanitized regularly. Meetings and group lunches should be outdoors if possible.

Some recommendations are stricter than what the CDC previously suggested. In early May, the agency told employers to “encourage workers to wear a cloth face covering at work if appropriate.” Now, the CDC said “employees should wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in all areas of the business.” Visitors should also be asked to wear masks and stay six feet apart from employees. Employees with a sick family member were previously told to follow safety protocols; the CDC now said those workers should stay home.

Offices that have been closed for several months, the CDC warns, should also be checked for mold, rodents and stagnant water before reopening.

Rick Woldenberg, chief executive of the Vernon, Illinois-based toy company Learning Resources, said the guidelines were “kind of just a nice way of saying you can’t go back to the office.” His 300 employees moved into new headquarters March 3 and then to their homes a week later. The remodeling did not account for a global pandemic: There are few interior walls, and the windows don’t open. Even if they could constantly ventilate and sanitize, he said, he thinks it would leave employees uncomfortable and on edge.

“Having to wipe everything down every five minutes is just a reminder you’re in a dangerous place,” he said.

He said he expects most of his team will keep working from home until it is clearer how risky certain behaviors are, such as touching shared surfaces.

“We don’t have to be on the bleeding edge; we can wait and see how other people have figured it out,” he said.

Columbia Sportswear is one such company.

“This is a rare instance where the government is so many steps behind the private sector, it’s not even funny,” said Peter Bragdon, the chief administrative officer and general counsel for the international clothing brand. “We benefit in part by being a global organization that’s operating in countries where the public health issue has been managed competently.”

He said only about a third of employees can safely return to the Portland, Oregon, headquarters under the guidelines. But, he said, the costs will still be high, and investing in changes as guidance shifts is a risk.

Concerns over changing regulations will be a problem across the business world, said Travis Vance, an attorney at Fisher Phillips who advises firms on workplace safety.

“A lot of companies have never had hazards that they knew of, so they didn’t pay attention to OSHA regulations before,” he said. “Now, every workplace is a hazardous environment.”

(c) 2020, The Washington Post · Rachel Weiner, Taylor Telford  



  1. CORONAVIRUS IS NOT CONTAGIOUS! It has been well proven that not one other person in families – spouse, siblings, parents – were affected with coronavirus (whatever that is) even though someone in the family had it. Which goes to show that quarantine, social distancing and anti-bodies is baloney. Apparently, the person affected caught it from the bacteria spread in the air and not from any close acquaintance. I know plenty of people who had some form of it or even had it strong but none of their family members caught it. According to their theory entire families should have coronavirus.

    • 100% right. Elderly couples who stayed home and weren’t in contact with a single person for weeks and suddenly 1 of them contracted covid-19. From where? How did he get it? He got it, from an open window where the bacteria was still airborne. And why didn’t his wife get it who was home with him? The same goes with large families and large groups were no one contracted it from one single person who had it. But how else can you lock down the world?

    • Really? I read a study which states the risk of getting infected is 84x if a household member, who is well enough to stay home, is positive. They did tests on all the people participating to the study, because it is not very straightforward to be tested unless one is very sick. And the research was done among middle-class nonjewish caucasians in residential areas, nice big homes and 1-2 children or maybe none.
      Yes, entire families have coronavirus. I suffer for them who were foolish enough to believe Trump propaganda, but I stay away.

      • Their “studies” are like their “polls” with Hillary a 97% chance in the 2016 election. I haven’t heard of any families that have more than 1 member who either had the flu, pneumonia or no smell and taste – neither in the US, Canada and England.

  2. The corona virus is a virus , not a bacteria , but you are correct. When will people wake up? They want new guidelines for daycare with the kids and adults having their temperature taken every day , and logged , no hugging the kids , and keeping the kids away from each other. They need to log in every day so that if someone has fever over 100.4, they will be quarantined, and everyone that they were in contact with should also be quarantined . Seems like the daycare will actually be closing every few weeks for 15 days. This “new norm” is meant to make people neurotic and OCD with continuous hand washing , when there is no risk to kids. This is the control they need to keep you in the dark. They want you to be scared of others so you will be suspicious and tattletale on anyone who doesn’t keep to their guidelines. Sounds like Nazi Germany to me. And they are doing a good job. Look at all the sheeple walking on the streeet with a mask, never saw soo many naive people who believe a mask will protect them. If they tell you tomorrow that the virus is over, you won’t be wearing a mask anymore because “ the government said”
    Anyone notice that the virus isn’t being discussed anymore by mainstream media? Too many people realized this is a hoax , where NY and NJ used the hospital to kill off people . Now they need a new distraction called riots because the virus didn’t last long enough. When will people wake up? Not sure many people will

    • Those of us who have actually worked in workplaces with hazards or potential hazards know that “masks” i.e. disposable respirators work well and they allow people to STAY ALIVE and STAY HEALTHY when very dangerous chemicals are around. Of course PPE have to be used correctly, and yes they are annoying and hinder our work. If there is no risk, of course it is stupid to wear a mask and to repeatedly wash hands. If there is a risk, not being aware of it and not responding appropriately to it can have very bad consequences for us and our loved ones.
      Incidentally, disposable respirators do not work with a beard. People with a beard should use different types of respiratory protection.
      And let me end with the standard quote from OSHA “PPE are the last line of defense, one should first of all seek to eliminate the risk”. Well duh if I could, I would sure eliminate the risk. But now, at least for those of us who don’t work in a hospital, it’s different. We can stay away from coronavirus.

    • They’re desperate for children to have fever while their parents and siblings are fine so that they can legally remove the children from their homes, officially to be quarantined. In many cases they’ll have the social workers come up with bogus proof that these children should not be returned to their parents and then get the CPS to remove the children from them for good. I’ve read such sad cases from single non-Jewish parents.


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