Planning for a Safe Return to WorkThe thought of finding a job or going back to work during a pandemic can be downright anxiety-inducing. In addition to adjusting to a new environment or getting back into the groove of your daily routine, you’re probably thinking more about safety than ever before: What can I do to minimize my risk of exposure? How do I plan for a safe return to work?

Keep reading to learn more about some simple CDC-recommended methods you can use to keep yourself safe while transitioning back into the work environment.

Wash your hands often.

The CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. While washing your hands is always a good idea, doing so is particularly important before and after your shifts and breaks, after using the restroom, before eating or preparing food, after putting on or removing a face mask, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – especially with unwashed hands.

Routinely clean & disinfect frequently touched objects.

The more often something is touched, and the more people it is touched by, the greater the risk of it becoming contaminated with things you don’t want to introduce to your body. Make a habit of periodically wiping down your workstation, phone, keyboard, doorknobs, or other frequently used tools and materials. If possible, avoid using other people’s phones, desks, tools, and equipment. If unavoidable, be sure to clean and disinfect them before and after use.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing.

If a tissue isn’t available, use the inside of your elbow. Dispose of used tissues and wash your hands immediately. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, so if you are unknowingly infected, your coughs and sneezes may pose a real threat to others around you. Following this tip is easy to do and will help reduce that threat.

Wear a face mask when possible.

Since COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, it makes sense that creating a barrier between your respiratory tract & those droplets can offer some protection from COVID-19. When possible, wear a face mask, and be sure it covers both your mouth and nose for maximum protection.  If you choose a reusable cloth face covering, washing them daily is recommended. You should throw disposable masks away after one use.

Practice social distancing.

Avoid large gatherings and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others when possible. Being in close proximity with others increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission – and the risk is further amplified when in close proximity with a large of number of people or for an extended period of time. You should avoid congregating in groups near the water cooler, break room, or other common areas.

Stay home if you’re sick, and inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home.

Reducing exposure to COVID-19 helps keep everyone safe, so stay home if you’re sick. Notify your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home – it may be necessary to quarantine even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, depending on the specifics of your situation. Always be honest with your employer about your symptoms and whether you have been exposed to someone that is sick, because it is better to err on the side of caution than risk putting yourself or others in harm’s way. And as always, if you are feeling unwell or are unsure if you should be quarantining, check with your healthcare provider. You can also call 211 for more COVID-19 related information.

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