Safety a priority for MN businesses re-opening Monday

Emily Ness
Updated: April 25, 2020 12:03 AM

Slowly but surely, Governor Tim Walz is allowing Minnesota workers in non-essential roles to go back to work. As this shift comes, the focus for many is on how workers will do so safely.

“I think people are anxious to get back to work, but yet, they are very, very cautious right now,” Kristi Stokes of the Greater Downtown Council said. “I think one of the big things that we’re trying to do right now is just start to get people prepared.”

One thing the Greater Downtown Council is doing to help businesses prepare is providing them with a variety of resources, including information from Minnesota's Department of Employment & Economic Development.

According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development, businesses should continue to encourage employees to telework as much as possible and conduct health screenings of employees before they return to work.

This is in addition to creating and distributing a COVID-19 preparedness plan. That plan should go over social distancing, worker hygiene, facility cleaning and disinfection and other measures to keep workers safe.

So far, the Greater Downtown Council said businesses have been slow to say whether they will return on Monday or take more time to formulate their plans.

“I truly think people are being very, very cautious as they should,” Stokes said. “We definitely want to see that jump start to the economy, but we also want to make sure that people are very cautious and that they’re following all of the recommendations.”

One company that has worked to conduct business as usual in the midst of COVID-19 is Frost River, who has been working to create personal protective equipment to aid healthcare workers during the pandemic. Owner, Chris Benson said communication is key for companies opening back up on Monday.

“As people are coming back to the workplace, making sure that the new protocols and rules are in place,” Benson said. “Here, we’ve been universal masking for the last several weeks. We’re not sharing tools back and forth amongst people and then we’re also asking them to sanitize their stations at the beginning of their shift and then we’re asking them to sanitize their stations at the end of their shift as well.”

Additionally, Benson recommends businesses prepare for a supply chain that has changed.

“Your supply chain of how you get paper towels and toilet paper for your staff to have at the facility—some of those things are broken,” Benson said. “Be ready to be nimble and be ready to be looking for the critical things that you need for your staff as you go through.”

Employees going back to work can find more information here.

Businesses preparing to welcome employees back to work can find more information here.


Emily Ness

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