Silicon Valley Office

Getting Back-To-Work | Reopening Your Silicon Valley Office Post-Coronavirus

Getting Back-To-Work | Reopening Your Silicon Valley Office Post-Coronavirus

June 17, 2020
Shane Minnis

silicon valley commercial real estate broker

If you’re wondering when and how to reopen your office… you’re not alone. Coronavirus has turned the world upside down and the lack of unified leadership hasn’t helped – especially when the federal, state and local governments have different, and many times conflicting, guidelines and mandates in response to COVID-19 and how we get back-to-work. Fortunately, the guidance is beginning to align and if you’re looking to reopen your office in Silicon Valley then the following will demystify the process and requirements of reopening.

The following outlines the process and requirements to reopen on the state and local county levels, but keep in mind that if a county order differs from a state order, the more restrictive order takes precedence. To date, the more restrictive order is likely to be at the county level. The latest state and county data concerning COVID-19 can be found here.

Silicon Valley Office

California State Requirements (COVID-19 Website)

The state of California has developed a 4 stage Resilience Roadmap in response to the COVID-19 statewide stay-at-home order, issued on March 19, 2020. This roadmap, which is updated regularly, serves as the guidance to provide a framework for how to safely re-open:

At the time of this blog, we are in early Stage 2 which allows retail, related logistics and manufacturing, office workplaces (when telework not possible), limited personal services, outdoor museums, child care and essential businesses to open with modifications.

Before reopening, all facilities must:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and create a site-specific protection plan
  2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 – including how to screen themselves for symptoms and when to stay home
  3. Set up individual control measures and screenings
  4. Put disinfection protocols in place
  5. Establish physical distancing guidelines

The state is issuing guidance by industry for businesses to follow, such as:

1) Office Workspaces: Review the guidance, prepare a plan, and post the checklist in your workplace to show customers and employees that you’ve reduced the risk and are open for business.

  • California Guidance for Office Workspaces – provides guidance for businesses operating in office workspaces to support a safe, clean environment for employees.
  • Cal/OSHA COVID-19 General Checklist – this checklist is intended to help employers implement their plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and is supplemental to the Guidance for Office Workspaces above.

2) Life Sciences: Review the guidance, prepare a plan, and post the checklist in your workplace to show customers and employees that you’ve reduced the risk and are open for business.

  • California Guidance for Life Sciences Industry – provides guidance for businesses operating in the life sciences industry to support a safe, clean environment for employees.
  • Cal/OSHA COVID-19 General Checklist – this checklist is intended to help life sciences employers implement their plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and is supplemental to the Guidance for Life Sciences Industry above.

3) Logistics & Warehousing Facilities: Review the guidance, prepare a plan, and post the checklist in your workplace to show customers and employees that you’ve reduced the risk and are open for business.

4) Manufacturing: Review the guidance, prepare a plan, and post the checklist in your workplace to show customers and employees that you’ve reduced the risk and are open for business.

  • California Guidance for Manufacturing Industry – provides guidance for businesses operating in the manufacturing industry to support a safe, clean environment for employees.
  • Cal/OSHA COVID-19 General Checklist – this checklist is intended to help manufacturing employers implement their plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and is supplemental to the Guidance for Manufacturing Industry above.

Santa Clara County Requirements (COVID-19 Website)

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is tracking measurable indicators, which are complementary to those being tracked by the California Department of Public Health and the Governor, to evaluate how coronavirus is affecting local communities. These indicators are the basis in assessing whether and to what extent the local health mandates can be amended. Click for the current Santa Clara County Public Health Order

Violation of or failure to comply with the Santa Clara County public health order, a legal order issued under the authority of California law, is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

1) Businesses Allowed to Reopen: As of June 5, 2020, the following businesses are allowed to reopen if they follow the rules in the Santa Clara County Public Health Order and appendix:

2) Social Distancing: All business allowed to reopen are required to do the following before reopening:

3) Face Covering: Wearing a face covering is required when riding public transit or visiting a business (as an employee or customer). Businesses must post signs directing visitors to wear a face-covering when at their facilities. Otherwise, all other times when out in public, it is strongly encouraged to wear a face covering, but not required.

Alameda County Requirements (COVID-19 Website)

The Alameda County Public Health Department is tracking measurable indicators (Dashboard 1 & Dashboard 2), which are complementary to those being tracked by the California Department of Public Health and the Governor, to evaluate how coronavirus is affecting local communities. These indicators are the basis in assessing whether and to what extent the local health mandates can be amended. Click for the current Alameda County Public Health Order

Violation of or failure to comply with the Alameda County public health order, a legal order issued under the authority of California law, is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

1) Businesses Allowed to Reopen: As of June 8, 2020 the following businesses are allowed to reopen if they follow the Health Officer Orders with updated Shelter-In-Place Orders for Alameda County:

2) Social Distancing: All businesses allowed to reopen are required to do the following before reopening:

  • Perform risk assessment of business practices
  • Complete a Site Specific Protection Plan – for each facility in the county
  • Print & post Site Specific Protection Plan in a prominent place near the entrance to the businesses where it can easily be reviewed without touching the document
  • Post signage at each public entrance to inform all employees and customers that they should:
    • Avoid entering or using the facility if they have COVID-19 symptoms;
    • Maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from one another;
    • Sneeze & cough into cloth, tissue, or elbow;
    • Wash hands often;
    • Wear face coverings; and
    • Do not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact
  • Implement the measures in your Site Specific Protection Plan

3) Face Covering: Each person in the county must wear a face covering when outside the person’s residence at all times, except for the listed exceptions (Section 3). The Alameda County face covering order can be found here.

Getting Back-To-Work

While this was a lengthy exercise on my part… to sift through all the information from the state and county level to demystify the minimum requirements for reopening offices in Silicon Valley… I’m confident this will help streamline your ability to get back to work!

However, I know my clients don’t like to settle for the minimal requirements and neither do their employees – especially when it relates to their health and well-being! In order to alleviate pressure on your in-house resources and provide expert advice to reassure your employees and other key stakeholders that you’re prioritizing a safe return to the office Colliers has launched a new offering for occupiers:

The Back-to-Work Navigator is designed to provide a 48-hour turnaround analysis of your office space and recommendations to achieve readiness for people to come back to work. Don’t waste this crisis – use these learnings to optimize your office space and drive productivity!

Feel free to Like; or Share if you think this blog could add value to others. For future posts, and to follow along, please visit www.MinnisCRE.com

Until next time…

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Colliers International. The information furnished has been obtained from sources I deem reliable and is submitted subject to errors, omissions and changes. Although I have no reason to doubt its accuracy, I do not guarantee it. All information should be verified by the recipient prior to lease, purchase, exchange, or execution of legal documents.

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