Representative image.
Representative image.

No fist bumps or handshakes, face masks mandatory: CDC guidelines to create new office environment for Americans

ANI | Updated: May 31, 2020 10:46 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], May 31 (ANI): Americans who are looking forward to resuming office jobs in upcoming weeks will not be allowed to enjoy fist bumps or handshakes, no carpooling or share coffee pots in cafeterias and various other new measures mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a substantially different environment than the one they left weeks ago.
As employers seek to reopen offices safely amid the not-yet-over coronavirus pandemic, which has already caused a severe blow to the economy including white-collar workers, law firms, management companies and other firms laying off or furloughing staff, the CDC guideline cited by The Washington Post require investments in new equipment to improve ventilation and air filtration, as well as to attempt to kill germs with ultraviolet light.
The recommendations also call for rearranging furniture to keep workers six feet apart, and physical barriers to separate them. Trash cans that require lifting a lid also needed to be replaced with no-touch options.
It also urges workers to drive alone rather than sharing rides or taking public transportation. Sharing drinks and snacking should be replaced with single-use items. Work stations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, printers and copiers, drinking fountains and doorknobs should be sanitised regularly. Meetings and group lunches should be outdoors if possible.
Some recommendations are stricter than what the CDC previously suggested. In early May, the agency told employers to "encourage workers to wear a cloth face covering at work if appropriate."

Now, the CDC said, "employees should wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in all areas of the business." Visitors should also be asked to wear masks and stay six feet apart from employees. Employees with a sick family member were previously told to follow safety protocols; the federal agency now urges those workers to stay home.
Offices that have been closed for several months, the CDC warned, should also be checked for mold, rodents and stagnant water before reopening.
Rick Woldenberg, chief executive of the Vernon, Illinois-based toy company, said the guidelines were "kind of just a nice way of saying you can't go back to the office." His 300 employees moved into new headquarters on March 3 and then to their homes a week later. The remodelling did not account for a global pandemic: There are few interior walls, and the windows don't open. Even if they could constantly ventilate and sanitize, he said, he thinks it would leave employees uncomfortable and on edge.
"Having to wipe everything down every five minutes is just a reminder you're in a dangerous place," he told the Post further.
He said that he expects most of his team will keep working from home until it is clearer how risky certain behaviours are, such as touching shared surfaces.
"We don't have to be on the bleeding edge; we can wait and see how other people have figured it out," Woldenberg added. (ANI)