Returning to Mission: Five Steps to Prepare to Reopen
By National Risk Control Team, Gallagher and Dan Romanski, Area Vice President, Gallagher*
COVID-19 and its impacts on daily life have been etched into our minds and may affect us for a long time. Human and social services agencies and nonprofits have stepped up and continue to serve vulnerable communities across the globe. As a nonprofit, in some cases, certain aspects of your operation may have been closed while others became more essential than ever.
As you continue to adjust and repurpose programs during this crisis and consider re-opening operations that were suspended, it is important to consider five important steps.
STEP 1: Eligibility to Re-open
- Check with all regulatory bodies. Are you legally able to reopen following federal, state and local governmental guidelines and orders?
- Create a COVID-19 committee to assist in developing individual plans, case manager needs and a risk assessment of your entity and operations.
- Utilize publicly available County Health trend mapping or consider forecasting services for COVID-data.
STEP 2: Employees and Volunteers
A solid plan needs to be developed to bring employees and volunteers back into the workplace. These plans need to include:
- Infection prevention measures. Policies, procedures, employee screenings, training.
- Social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
- The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and perhaps eye protection
STEP 3: Equipment and Facilities
Many of your facilities have been vacant and unoccupied for 60 days or more. It is imperative that you make sure that key building systems are properly operating and functioning. These include:
- Life safety and fire systems.
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and other key building systems, such as power and water.
- Facility preparation and layout changes.
STEP 4: Supplies and Third Party Vendors
This is a step that is easy to forget, but still critical. With all of the disruptions in the economy, it is necessary to check that all of your vendors and supply companies have and can get the supplies you require. Many of these items may be in great demand and not easy to obtain. Some items to consider include:
- Cleaning supplies
- Hand sanitizers
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
STEP 5: Communication with the Public
The key to reopening plans is communicating to employees, families, and key community stakeholders. Some things to consider are as follows:
- How are you going to communicate the policies and procedures to others? This can be accomplished using communication platforms such as your website, email, Facebook, Twitter, mail service, local newspaper and volunteer committees.
- What do you need to communicate? Some things to include are: social distancing guidelines, PPE requirements, changes in typical operations, etc.
While day-to-day operations will inevitable change, the importance of your mission remains a top priority. Each social service agency has been impacted differently by this pandemic— no matter what phase you are in, it is imperative you develop and execute a thoughtful plan. Please visit Gallagher’s COVID-19 Reopening page for the latest information or refer to the Center for Disease Control webpage.
*Editorial Note: In a prior version of this article, NLI incompletely attributed the authorship for this post. As reflected above, the correct attribution is to the National Risk Control Team, Gallagher and Dan Romanski, Area Vice President, Gallagher.
DISCLAIMER: Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and consultation services for our clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/ or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance/risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general informational purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. Insurance brokerage and related services to be provided by Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Inc. (License No. 0D69293) and/or its affiliate Arthur J.Gallagher & Co. Insurance Brokers of California, Inc. (License No.0726293).
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