Overview with details:

Planning Considerations

Businesses should review their Continuity of Operations Plan or Business Continuity Plan. 

A Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) or Business Continuity Plan (BCP) outlines the job or service functions that are essential to keeping the business operational. Essential functions are often tied to public safety and health, job functions tied to laws or administrative codes and those functions that keep the business open. A healthy COOP or BCP plan will include:

  • Details of the essential functions
  • Key staff who perform the essential functions
  • List of essential records, contracts and important information needed to keep the functions running
  • Cross-trained personnel who can perform essential functions

Businesses should prepare for social distancing and absenteeism

Businesses should include ways to reduce interactions amongst employees. Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites, teleworking, flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees.

Be flexible with employees who become ill. It’s important that employees with signs of respiratory illness (fever and cough) stay home and seek medical care. Some employees with recent travel to a Level 3 Country may be placed under quarantine for 14 days.

DO NOT require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before employees return to work.  

For more guidance on COOP or BCP planning, visit 

For small business resources, see the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources

Response Considerations

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:

  • Maricopa County Department of Public Health recommends employees who have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, NOT chronic conditions like allergies or asthma, stay home and not come to work until 72 hours after free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer) and symptoms of respiratory infection (not allergies or asthma), without the use of fever-reducing medications. This recommendation applies regardless of whether the individual has been tested for COVID-19 and is advised to reduce overall risk of transmission of flu-like symptoms before returning to work. Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Do NOT require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
  • Do NOT require a negative COVID-19 test for employees to return to work.
  • Public Health WILL NOT contact every business to notify them of employees who are positive for COVID-19. Notification to businesses depends on case investigation information, potential exposure and whether the employee was in a high-risk job (e.g., healthcare).
  • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Encourage sick staff to use telehealth if available.

Separate sick employees:

  • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. While at work, sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:

  • Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol,or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

Perform routine environmental cleaning:

  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, 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.

Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:

  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas