Workplace Guidance

Workplace Guidance

Businesses must adhere to the Stay Home, Save Lives→ executive order issued on March 23, 2020. Below is some guidance for your business to consider during the reopening phase(s), which are currently in the planning stages.

Factors to consider when planning:

Need PPE to Reopen?

While the Governor’s Executive Order No. 20-22→ permits medical, dental, or other health care offices to reopen for the purposes of providing non-emergent or elective procedures, medical PPE is not being provided by the Columbia County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the purpose of assisting organizations to meet the executive order’s reopening criteria. For organizations seeking to reopen to provide non-emergency and elective procedures, they must have an open supply chain or a two-week supply on hand of NIOSH or FDA-approved medical PPE. 

Helpful Tool:

Which Masks for Which Tasks→

PPE Resource Assistance for Community Partners→ Which includes Business Oregon's updated list of vetted PPE sources→ in Oregon. Please note that some are manufacturing/selling thermometers.

Note: As of 5/8/2020, the FDA no longer authorizes use of KN95 masks as an acceptable supplement for N95 masks. KN95 masks should not be used for medical procedures, as they do not meet the performance criteria to be a respirator. Learn more→. Here are some things to consider→ if you are from the general public and choose to use KN95 as a face covering 

Dentists: If you who donated PPE during the COVID-19 crisis, use this link→ to report your donation. Oregon Dental Association is partnering with OHA in a effort to replenish donated supplies.

Oregon OSHA’s virtual consultant program: Have questions about reopening your workplace? Need help creating policies and safety guidelines for the new normal? OR OSHA can help→!

CDC: What Workers and Employers Can Do to Manage Workplace Fatigue during COVID-19→

Examples of Guidance/Policies:

Example of a COVID-19 Decisions Matrix from FEMA→

  • This document has seven different scenarios surrounding employee symptoms and close contact and what to do in each situation.

Critical Infrastructure Operations Center Control Rooms→

  • This guidance is helpful when thinking about 24/7 operations, unique equipment, specially trained staff, and measures to put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. The “Key mitigation measures – protecting personnel” and “key mitigation measures – workforce planning” have some good guidance that can be applicable across multiple fields. “Key Mitigation Measures – Protecting Equipment” might be helpful for IT sectors or server rooms.

Memo for Departments of Justice Employees – Use of Face Coverings→

  • This is an example of a policy for face covering use by employees. 

Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce→

  • This is general information on considerations for governments and businesses when developing plans for re-opening.

Office of Personnel Management COVID-19 FAQs→

  • This site provides good questions for leadership consideration.

Will Columbia County notify us if an employee tests positive?

Public Health calls all individuals who have tested positive to conduct a contract tracing interview to identify all locations the individual went while infectious. If the employee was at work during that infectious period, Public Health will contact the employer to obtain contact information for the employee’s supervisor and close workplace contacts.

Columbia County Public Health may notify you if an employee has tested positive. However, if a business is closed, the need for notification no longer exists since the potential to spread the disease has been alleviated.

Sick leave policies need to be supported and enforced. Physical distancing and other measures to stop the spread of the disease need to be in place at all Columbia County businesses.  

If your business needs more information about measures that should be taken regarding these orders, please see the following pages:

Oregon Health Authority→

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention→

What do we do if an employee tests positive?

An employee may self-disclose their illness to an employer, but they are not required to do so. If an employee alerts you to their positive test result, you do not need to inform Public Health. We receive the information from the lab that performed the test.

It’s important that your business is taking precautions to support your workplace, staff and customers at all times. Here are key points to review:

  • Encourage your employees to stay home and notify workplace administrators when sick (provide sick leave options to allow staff to stay home when ill). 

  • Encourage personal protective measures among staff (e.g., stay home when sick, cloth face coverings, maintaining distance, washing hands, coughing/sneezing into elbow). 

  • Supply and ensure the use of cloth face coverings when physical distancing cannot be followed.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and as often as possible. 

  • Ensure hand hygiene supplies (wash stations, hand sanitizer, soap, etc.) are readily available at the workplace. 

  • Allow and support staff to practice meticulous hand hygiene.

  • Support work from home for individuals with underlying health conditions and considered at higher risk for severe illness, where possible.

  • Ensure physical distancing measures are being followed such as increasing space between workers, limiting use and capacity in conference rooms and break rooms, and using teleconferencing services whenever possible.

  • Stagger work schedules and breaks (if feasible).

  • Clearly identify essential versus non-essential staff to be in the physical workspaces. Staff who were able to telework during the Stay Home Save Lives should be encouraged to continue or go back to telework.

  • Limit non-essential work travel. 

  • Supply and ensure use of cloth face coverings at all times.

How soon can an employee come back to work after they are sick?

Persons who test positive for COVID-19 are directed to stay home until the following things have happened: 

  • They have had no fever for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine; and
  • Other COVID-19 symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) have improved; and
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

People who DID NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, but tested positive and have stayed home may leave home under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive test for COVID-19, and
  • They continue to have no symptoms (no cough or shortness of breath) since the test.

*The decision to stop home isolation or return to work should be made in consultation with a health care provider.  

Do not require a note from healthcare providers to validate illness or allow employees to return to work. It is important to keep individuals from unnecessarily seeking medical services.

My business has been ordered to close. Is this shutdown covered in my insurance?
Your business insurance may have a business interruption clause that covers loss of income as a result of disruptions to your operations from imposed government restrictions. Review your policy. Clearly document loss of income resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a temporary emergency order in response to the COVID-19 outbreak requiring all insurance companies to extend grace periods for premium payments, postpone policy cancellations and non-renewals, and extend deadlines for reporting claims.

To Report a Possible Violation of Executive Order

EMPLOYEES: If you believe your employer is in violation of the governor's order about how and when to operate, you can file a complaint on OSHA's general complaint form. Even though it doesn't say anything about COVID-19, this is the correct place to file your complaint.

CONCERNED COMMUNITY MEMBERS: If you believe any business in Columbia County is in violation of the governor's orders about how and when to operate, call 503-397-7247 or email

We will first provide education to help a business come into compliance with the order. Citation through law enforcement is an absolute last resort. We must have ALL of the following information in order for our Enforcement Branch to follow up with the business.

  • Name of business
  • Full address of business, including zip code
  • Date violation occurred
  • What is the violation? What did you observe? For example: business operating that should be closed; business allowed to be operating but not enforcing physical distancing or face covering requirements; larger than allowed public gatherings
Public Health Quick Links
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,
Fax: 888-204-8568

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00
Michael Paul