COVID-19 Updates: What’s Next for Reopening?

Updated: Aug 17

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread with alarming speed, infecting millions and bringing economic activity to a near-standstill as countries imposed tight restrictions on movement to halt the spread of the virus. While the summer heat is not slowing COVID-19, there may be a second wave as the northern hemisphere enters fall or winter and the temperature drops. Although we are in such an uncertain situation, the federal government has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach to reopen the economies and get people back to work. Thus, we believe that it will be helpful and crucial to discuss the strategies that people can take to protect themselves and prepare for the recovery.


Business:

The pandemic has had far-reaching consequences beyond the spread of the disease itself and efforts to quarantine it, impacting businesses and the economy on a global scale. Companies should proactively develop responding reopening plans to ensure the safety of the workplace and employees. Here are few ideas:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted specific sectors. Companies in these sectors must pay special attention to manage cash and maintain liquidity during recovery

  • With the possibility of a second wave in the fall, companies should adopt digitization to create new opportunities and develop backup plans




Travel:

Traveling (whether internationally or not) has become another issue that shouldn’t be ignored. Traffic at airport security checkpoints reached a new high last weekend, crossing 800,000 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic caused passenger numbers to plummet. As traveling recovers slowly, how to protect oneself becomes a hot potato facing both individual travelers and travel agencies.

Protecting yourself when you travel out of state: What do you need?

  • The risks of taking different transportation methods mainly lie in the difficulties of maintaining social distancing

  • There are several practices one can take to reduce such risk. First, one should wash hands with soap or sanitizers after touching public surfaces. Second, one should avoid touching his/her eyes or mouths in public areas. Lastly, one should wear mask at all times to protect oneself and others

  • Suggestions from the CDC: Bring enough medicine, alcohol-based sanitizer, and masks for the entire trip; prepare your own food or drinks; take steps to protect yourself when you are planning accommodations


What are the current traveling regulations in place?

  • A number of countries have implemented global travel bans by closing borders and banning international flights. Some countries are implementing non-global travel restrictions. And a few countries haven’t set travel restrictions yet, but travelers must complete coronavirus testing and a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival

  • In the US, different states adopt respective policies. In terms of travel restrictions, some states require travelers to complete tests and self-quarantine upon arrival, while other states partially closed their borders for all except essential travelers. Hotels and in-door recreation facilities may begin to open at 25%-50% capacity, and mask policies vary by state

Schools:

Most schools have shifted to virtual learning due to COVID-19. As all 50 states are slowly reopening, whether it will be safe for schools to resume in-person classes becomes controversial. Although some states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, have announced plans to resume in-person classes in the fall, schools are likely to offer a hybrid of in-person and remote learning to limit class sizes and comply with social-distancing recommendations from the CDC.


What measures can schools take to protect their students and faculty?

  • Encourage everyone in the school community to practice hygiene etiquette. It is a crucial determinant of whether schools can reopen safely

  • Communicate, educate, and reinforce appropriate hygiene and social distancing practices in ways that are developmentally appropriate for students, teachers, and staff

  • Maintain clean and healthy environments (e.g., clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, open windows daily to keep the air fresh)

  • Repurpose unused or underutilized school (or community) spaces to increase classroom space and facilitate social distancing, including outside spaces, where feasible

  • Develop a proactive plan for when a student or staff tested positive for COVID-19

  • Develop ongoing communication channels with state and local health departments to stay updated on COVID-19 transmission and response in your local area