Workplace Guidance

Workplace Guidance

Governor's New Framework (As of 12/3/2020)

Businesses are required to comply with Governor Kate Brown's framework. Some businesses are allowed to open at certain capacity levels. Other businesses are not allowed to open at all at this time. Please visit the governor's website for sector-specific guidance.

Business Recovery

Please visit Columbia County Economic Team→ for COVID-19 small business resources. 

Sign up for Columbia County Economic Team updates here→

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!

FACE COVERINGS: According to Governor Brown’s guidance, employers are required to provide face coverings for their employees.  All businesses should perform their own research.

Oregon Health Authority: Oregon Mask Requirements


PPE Resource Assistance for Community Partners→ Which includes Business Oregon's updated list of vetted PPE sources→ in Oregon. 

Reach out to Columbia County Economic Team→ for additional face covering resources. 

Below are some additional factors for your business to consider during the reopening phase(s).

  • Physical barriers
  • Physical distancing floor markers 
  • Physical distancing in offices
  • Staggered work schedules (core attendance days, staggered arrivals/breaks, etc.)
  • Virtual work policy
  • Cleaning policies both for employees and janitorial staff
  • Guidelines for conference rooms, breakrooms and shared spaces
  • Sick leave policy
  • Vulnerable population protection
  • Mental health and employee support programs

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.

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

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→

After Testing Guide→ Information about how to tell employers, close contacts, when and how to quarantine safely and more guidance for what to do after testing. 

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. 

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 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine; and
  • Other symptoms 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.  

Recommendation/guidance from OHA on testing for return-to-work

Download the Workplace COVID-19 Prevention & Response Toolkit

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
General Information
Phone Numbers
503-397-7247 24-hour Reporting 503-397-7247
Fax: 888-204-8568
Emergencies: Dial 911
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30


Columbia County Public Health is committed to improving the quality of life and protecting the health and well-being of all residents by addressing social, economic, and environmental conditions. Our goal is to ensure that all people in Columbia County have the opportunity for a healthy life.