We’ve heard and read the phrase “unprecedented year” countless times since the coronavirus-related shutdowns began in 2020. Employers, employees, unemployed individuals, working parents, and more have been forced to adapt to this new normal in so many ways, with sudden changes to busy schedules, finances, careers, and working environments as communities struggle to comply with regulations and keep themselves and others safe during this time. 

The unanswered question of how long this will last is taking a toll on many, especially those who have recently lost their jobs or stepped down to take care of children who are learning remotely. As of August, the nation’s unemployment rate was still higher than average, and since the beginning of the school year, 865,000 women dropped out of the American workforce, many of whom had no choice in order to take care of their families. 

With the 2020 Election just around the corner, many are concerned about what this will mean for nation-wide COVID restrictions post-election. These rules and regulations could vary depending on who is elected. 

President Trump’s Reopening Plan

Since the start of the pandemic, the Trump Administration has given much of the responsibility of tackling COVID-19 to each individual state. Each state, county, and city has implemented their own rules and regulations when it comes to what is and isn’t permitted during this time. President Trump has established guidelines known as “Opening Up America Again”.  According to Trump, the goal of the 3 phases is to mitigate the risk of resurgence and protect the most vulnerable. The phases are implementable on a state-wide or county-by-county basis. Below are aspects of President Trump’s plans for individuals and employers. 

Phase 1

  • All vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place. 
  • All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.
  • Continue to encourage telework, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
  • If possible, return to work in phases.
  • Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols.
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of a vulnerable population.
  • Schools should remain closed.

Phase 2

  • All vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place. 
  • All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 50 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.
  • Continue to encourage telework, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
  • Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce moderate social distancing protocols.
  • Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of a vulnerable population.
  • Schools can reopen

Phase 3

  • Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions but should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed.
  • Low-risk populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.
  • Resume unrestrictive staffing of worksites.

 

To read the full details of President Trump’s reopening plan, visit whitehouse.gov. You can also learn more about each state’s current actions regarding COVID-19 by visiting the National Conference of State Legislatures

Joe Biden’s Reopening Plan

If Joe Biden wins the election, the federal government may have a more prominent role in combating COVID-19 than it did during President Trump’s first term. Biden has presented an eight-part plan he believes will ensure reopening is safe and strong and sets the foundation for an economy that works for everyone. This plan includes:

1. Guarantee Testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for All Called Back on the Job 

  • Federal government to provide regular COVID-19 testing for every worker called back on the job, and ensure all workers have access to personal protective equipment 

2. Guarantee Paid Leave for All Who Get Sick

  • Paid leave for all workers with COVID-19, for as long as they need to recover, and guarantee federally-funded paid leave for workers caring for loved ones as well

3. Ensure Worker Protection and Accountability

  • Task OSHA with setting and enforcing a rigorous emergency temporary standard for worker protection, protect workers not fully covered by OSHA, and pursue fines on corporations that do not abide by standards or recklessly expose their workers to COVID-19

4. Build a National Contact Tracing Workforce

  • Create a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps, and establish a COVID-19 renewable state, tribal, and local government fund

5. Protect Older Americans, Americans with Disabilities, and Others at High Risk

  • Require employers to tailor work arrangements for anyone who is in a high-risk group or has a high-risk individual in their home, provide guidance for different phases of reopening, establish testing capacity so that every resident in a long-term care facility could safely see at least one visitor every week, and create an easy-to-read Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard

6. Create “Safer for Shoppers” Program

  • Provide state, tribal, and local governments with funding and technical assistance

7. Restart Small Business

  • “Restart package” that provides small business owners support for retaining and rehiring workers, support work-sharing so that small and large businesses can bring back all of their workers, provide grants for businesses to cover the costs of restarting, and end the racial inequity in small business support

8. Reopen Schools and Child Care Programs

  • Scale-up National Institutes of Health-funded COVID-19 pediatric research partnerships, build a Safer Schools Best Practices Clearinghouse, and provide funds for childcare providers and schools — particularly Title I schools — to cover costs

To read the full details of Biden’s reopening plan, visit joebiden.com/reopening.

For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with Angela on LinkedIn for new updates or contact her here

Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator 

Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, certified workplace, and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH), mediator, and arbitrator in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.

Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.

Angela is also a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California company that represents the gold standard in dispute resolution. She also owns her own law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in workplace and Title IX discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault investigations.

 

This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.

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