CDC Releases Comprehensive Guidance on Reopening Businesses

On Wednesday, May 20, The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) released a 60-page document titled CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again. According to the CDC, this document “summarizes CDC’s initiatives, activities, and tools in support of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19. The document includes information on general and healthcare surveillance as well as previously posted guidance on infection control, contact tracing, and testing.”

The first portion of the guidance is regarding testing, tracing, and identifying outbreaks at a community level to help reduce the spread and intensity of COVID-19. They state that “control of the epidemic requires action at the individual, community, and population levels.” It describes how the CDC is working with state and local health authorities to help.

Appendix F, starting on page 40, offers specific guidance for child care programs, schools and day camps, employers with workers at high risk of severe illness, restaurants and bars, and mass transit. The guidance here is intended to work in conjunction with decision tools the CDC released last week. The CDC notes that the availability of childcare and mass transit is critical to a successful reopening of the economy.

Appendix F lays out the guidance in three steps, to enable a gradual scaling up of operations. They state that “Some amount of community mitigation is necessary across all steps until a vaccine or therapeutic drug becomes widely available.” Each step is identified for each industry and gives guidance on how to move to the next step.

Throughout the document, the CDC reminds employers to coordinate with state and local health officials and follow their recommendations as well.