Gov. Doug Burgum and Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer today released “North Dakota Smart Restart” protocols for businesses resuming or continuing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the state’s number of active cases declined with a record number of recoveries.
The protocols released today include operating standards for all industries, as well as specific guidance for several high-contact business sectors that were closed or had access limited by Executive Order 2020-06.3, which is set to expire Thursday, April 30.
Those high-contact sectors include restaurants and bars; hair, nail and tanning salons and other cosmetology-related businesses; tattoo and body piercing businesses; massage therapy facilities; and fitness centers. ND Smart Restart protocols will be provided for theaters within the next couple days, and for music/entertainment venues and large recreational facilities at a later date.
Burgum stressed the need for North Dakotans to continue practicing physical distancing and urged the most vulnerable to COVID-19 – those over age 65 and with underlying health conditions – to continue staying home and avoiding crowds.
“Working together, we can continue to manage the risk of COVID-19 to the general public and thoughtfully restart those limited sectors of our economy that were restricted as we fought to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure hospital capacity to handle any surge in cases,” Burgum said.
The North Dakota Department of Commerce organized and coordinated six workgroups representing businesses affected by Executive Order 2020-6.3. More than 60 members of the business community volunteered to help develop the protocols.
“The goal of these workgroups was to ask the professionals closest to the work, their community and their customers to arrive at North Dakota Smart Restart protocols that are practical and effective at controlling infection to keep their employees and customers safe, and that inspire consumer confidence so that we may gradually achieve our new normal,” Kommer said.
For all industries, the protocols call for:
- Adhering to CDC guidelines for businesses and employers and North Dakota Department of Health recommendations for the public.
- Completing a workplace assessment tool for COVID-19.
- Limiting the number of people occupying the facility to ensure 6 feet of distance from one another, and marking 6-foot increments where lines form.
- Posting signage at all entrances informing employees and customers to avoid entering if they have cough or fever, maintain 6-foot distance, wash their hands and limit unnecessary contact.
- Encouraging use of cloth face coverings for employees and contracted workers whose duties require close contact with other employees and/or the public.
- Providing for contactless payment systems and disinfecting all payment portals, pens, etc.
- Providing hand sanitizer, soap and water or effective disinfectant at or near entrances and in other appropriate areas.
- Regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
- Developing policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of sick staff and customers.
- Encouraging customers to download the Care19 app to increase contact tracing success.
Burgum emphasized that reopening of businesses will be voluntary for those that can meet the protocols. Those who are teleworking are encouraged to continue doing so, and schools will continue to administer distance learning to students.