State law requires an employer to keep a safe and healthy workplace

Employers are required to implement a social distancing plan, conduct frequent cleaning and sanitizing and ensure frequent and proper hand washing. Businesses deemed essential are prohibited from operating unless these workplace safety measures are established and implemented in accordance with the following guidance:

How to prepare for COVID-19 in your workplace Protecting customers

All businesses should plan how to decrease the spread COVID-19 in the event of an outbreak. 

For more information on ways to protect your customers download the "We’re Protecting Our Customers From COVID-19" document. Available in English and Spanish.

We recommended the following strategies:

Perform routine environmental cleaning & hand hygiene 

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, counter tops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands that are visibly soiled.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home

  • Employees with a fever or who show symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay home.
  • Don’t require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness.
  • Encourage employees to protect themselves:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.

Ensure your sick leave policies are up to date

  • Understand Washington’s paid sick leave law. 
  • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for themselves or a sick family member.
  • Review policies to ensure your sick leave policies and practices are consistent with public health guidance.
  • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices like flexible worksites (telework) and flexible work hours to distance employees. 
  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners.

Prepare for increased absences.

  • Monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue essential business functions in the event you experience high levels of absent employees.
  • Cross-train staff to perform essential functions so your business can operate even if key staff members are absent.
  • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Consider canceling non-essential business travel to other countries per CDC’s travel guidance.
  • Things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel in the United States.

NEW- Yakima Health District COVID-19 Workplace Resources

These educational materials were created to provide additional information about how COVID-19 spreads and how to prevent cases in the workplace. 

COVID-19 Employer Resources- Flyers and Training Guide (En Español)

YouTube Video- COVID-19 General Health Information & Recommendations (En Español)

YouTube Video- COVID-19 Prevention for Employers of Agriculture Industries & Packing Houses 

Guidance for Workplaces With Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 Information for Food Establishments  

Currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 spreads through food. The virus is thought to mainly spread from close contact with an infected person or by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. This means that food establishments need to be extremely diligent with practicing good health and hygiene procedures. 

General Resources:

Local business resources- "Open Yakima Taskforce" 

Yakima County Development Association - COVID-19 Page

OSHA- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

OSHA-COVID-19 Interim guidance for specific worker groups and their employers. 

Planning for Coronavirus Pandemic- A guide for businesses and organizations (PDF) 

State of Washington Office of the Governor- Resource List for Washington State Businesses and Workers Impacted by COVID-19 Coronavirus 

CDC- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers 

CDC- When and How to Wash Your Hands

Handouts and Posters

COVID-19 Signage for Athletic Facilities (bilingual) 

COVID-19 Signage for General Establishments (bilingual)  

DOH- Recommended Guidance for Daily COVID-19 Screening of Employees and Visitors

Page updated 05/14/2020