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What Happens When Facilities Reopen?


By Dan Hounsell Emergency Preparedness
Empty school hallway

Institutional and commercial facilities have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing or severely limiting operations and occupancy, but such strategies can create problems for maintenance and engineering managers. The next major challenge managers and their organizations will face is taking steps to protect occupants once facilities can return to full operation.

Even as coronavirus cases rise in some states and plateau in others, political leaders have begun to talk of turning the much-shuttered economy back on. So far, there has been little agreement on the best way forward, according to The New York Times. Some states have announced new policies of their own that will allow businesses to tiptoe back into operation.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has suggested that restaurant patrons would have to submit to having their temperatures taken before being seated once that state begins a gradual reopening.

Even without any statewide reopening order, a restaurant in Fresno, Calif., called Pismo’s Coastal Grill announced it would reopen for lunch and dinner in May, assuring customers it would “practice social distancing to the max.”

“Rebounding to an economic recovery will require consumer confidence,” says Idaho, Gov. Brad Little, noting that shoppers will want assurance their safety is protected until a vaccine or widespread immunity exists. “We can expect to go through phases of loosening and tightening of these measures.”

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

 

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