U.S. CDC issues guidelines on how to reopen schools, transit and workplaces

Alyssa Machin serves a customer from behind a plastic shield at SaddleCreek Coffee during the phased reopening from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Cave Creek, Arizona, U.S.,May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Nicole Neri

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday issued guidelines to help schools and workplaces determine whether they are ready to open for business.

It provided six “decision trees” that cover yes-or-no scenarios to help assess readiness for opening workplaces, restaurants and bars, mass transit, childcare, camps and schools.

“These six decision trees are to assist leaders of these entities in thinking through health considerations and making operational decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic,” a CDC spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The tools stress working with state and local health officials. They are intended to help business owners develop policies for their employees.

For example, in deciding whether a restaurant or bar should open, the guideline asks if reopening will be consistent with state and local orders, and whether the business is ready to protect employees at higher risk for severe illness. If the answer is no, restaurants and bars are advised not to open.

In many cases, businesses are encouraged to require employees to wear masks. The CDC already recommends that the general public wear face coverings while in enclosed public spaces.

The CDC said it may issue more guidance as needed to help states as they start to reopen businesses.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler