President’s Message: Necessary Steps For Safely Reopening

On June 3rd, Nassau County Legislator Arnie Drucker, in partnership with the Plainview-Old Bethpage and Syosset-Woodbury Chambers of Commerce, hosted a webinar to discuss the reopening of our businesses and community. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was on the call and answered many questions from the more than 50 participants. Other panelists included Nassau County Consumer Affairs Commissioner Greg May, Erin McCabe, Esq., Gregory Lisi, Esq. and Dr. Uzma Syed, an infectious disease expert.

The purpose of this message is to highlight some of the major points discussed in the webinar.

Phases: Long Island is on track to hit phase 2 on Wednesday June 10. Here is a helpful link that will guide you as to the types of businesses listed in each phase, as well as the protocols and guidelines for each business.

Although there has not been any specific discussion regarding the expediting of the phases, there is a possibility, in the event the numbers continue to fall, that certain activities may be opened prior to the time frames currently published. We will update our members with regard to any changes in the phases and time frames, as soon as they become available.

Protocols and Guidelines for businesses:

Businesses will be allowed to open and bring back employees and allow customers to enter the premises but must not allow more than 50% capacity in the building. The 50% figure is determined by the number of persons allowed in the premises as stated on the certificate of occupancy for the building. Businesses are encouraged to structure their staff hours in a manner that will facilitate staying under the 50% of capacity threshold. This directive applies to business and restaurants.

Business owners must also provide for the following:

– No shared workspace

– Require all employees and clients to stay 6 feet apart

– Provide face masks to staff and clients

– Ask staff and clients if they have had any COVID symptoms and not allow any individual into the premises who has experienced COVID symptoms. In the event that an employee has experienced symptoms or tests positive for the virus, the entire workplace should immediately be cleaned and sanitized.

– Install plexiglass in areas where clients enter the premises

– Mark off areas for clients to walk; ensuring that clients and staff maintain a distance of 6 feet

– Continuously clean copiers, fax machines and scanners, as well as bathrooms and kitchen areas.

– No buffet or shared lunches

– Business owners must develop a plan to re-open. Here is a link to a form created by NY State:

Employee concerns:

– Employers must make reasonable accommodations to employees who does not want to return to work, due to a disability.

– Working remotely should be an option, if possible.

– If reasonable accommodations cannot be made, employers can terminate an employee and bring them back at a later date.

The Chamber will continue to disseminate information and guidelines provided by our elected officials. I would like to personally thank Legislator Drucker, County Executive Curran and all of the panelists for an informative webinar.

All information provided above shall not be considered legal or medical advice. We advise you to speak with your own legal counsel, medical professional or other professionals for specific guidance for your business and your family.