Texas and Mississippi Say All Companies Can Open 100 P.c, With No Masks

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that businesses in Texas will be able to open at full capacity without masks starting next week. Texans, Abbott explained, can be responsible for their own safety. On Tuesday, the governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, announced in a tweet that companies in his state will also be allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity from tomorrow.

“We are removing all of our county mask mandates and companies can reach their full capacity without government-imposed rules,” writes Reeves. “Our hospital stays and case numbers have decreased, and the vaccine is being distributed quickly. It’s time!”

If you run a business in these states, it means you are now responsible for your own safety – as well as the safety of your employees and your customers. Moral obligations are not lost, nor are the obligations of the OSHA. What should i do?

Promote vaccinations.

If your company is open to the public, this is even more important. It can be difficult to enforce masking or social distancing when the governor says you don’t have to. Encourage your employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Continue to follow federal guidelines.

Abbott said you could make your own decisions – and you could choose to follow federal guidelines. You can let your employees who can work from home work from home. You can request masks on site. You can reduce the number of people in your business to a lower number, which enables social distancing.

Follow OSHA guidelines.

OSHA has fined over $ 4 million for security breaches related to Covid-19. The OSHA guidelines apply at the federal, not the state, level. You can’t tell the OSHA inspector, “Well, Texas doesn’t need masks.” According to OSHA, employers should put in place Covid safety plans that include social distancing and masks.

Proceed with the quarantine and contact the trace.

If an employee tests positive for Covid-19, that employee must be quarantined for at least 10 days, and anyone who has had close contact must also be quarantined. Remember that the definition of close contact includes people who are less than two meters apart for 15 minutes or more. If you increase the number of people allowed into your company, how many of them are less than two meters apart? If those numbers include customers and customers, can you contact them in case someone signs Covid-19? How will you notify them?

Don’t forget ADA.

Not everyone can be vaccinated, and there is not enough time to be vaccinated for everyone who wants to receive the vaccine. You must continue to take reasonable care of those who may be protected under the American with Disabilities Act. This includes working from home. Don’t force people who have worked successfully from home to come into the office just because the governor says you can. ADA didn’t go away.

Pay attention to the numbers.

Texas is huge (as any Texan will be happy to tell you). The rate of Covid-19 infection varies from city to city. If you find your area is growing in numbers, it may be time to take control of your own safety and take more stringent measures again. Your priority is to keep your employees and your customers healthy. If your infection rate is going down, you can probably be more comfortable by reducing your restrictions.

If your business is not in Texas.

This will be an interesting case study. Everyone should watch it closely. Do your employees need to be quarantined when traveling to Texas? The spring break is just around the corner, and with few restrictions on Covid-19, you can expect it to be a crowded spring break. Make your rules now and not when the employees come back.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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