#SafeReturnKC announcement outlines a responsible guide to reopening the city


Curbside service // Photo by Pislen Photo Co-op

Stay-at-home orders across the region will start to expire in less than a week. KC businesses and organizations will need guidance returning to the workplace in a safe and responsible manner. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Kansas City Area Development Council, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), and the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City have collaborated to create Safe Return KC | A Guide for Responsible Re-Entry to the Workplace, a roadmap informed by federal, state, county, and local sources to help area businesses in their planning.

This afternoon, that document was released, and local leaders answered media questions about the report.

The overall tone of the document conveys a sense of being as cautious and careful as possible, while allowing businesses to reopen. The only thing more damaging than the initial shutdown would be moving too quickly, and causing businesses to shutter for a second time.

The guidelines show how businesses of any size in this region should approach economic re-entry, and all of the best practices that can be determined by CDC and other health organizations dealing with the coronavirus.

One of the recurring questions in the press conference revolves around the legality of employment decisions moving forward. As is the case across the country, if a business decides to open, an employee is not legally protected if they do not feel comfortable coming into work. This is technically quitting a job, if their employer deems it as such, and does not entitle them to unemployment benefits. As the country works towards re-opening, this issue becomes very complicated, especially as businesses will need to balance their need to make money against the possible harm to employees.

Kansas City is not immune from this issue, and that discussion will be ongoing.

From the document, which you can read in its entirety here.

As the Greater Kansas City business community adjusts day-to-day operations in response to COVID-19, we must balance the need to maintain our region’s economy with the protection of our community’s health. The Safe Return KC Guide provides a roadmap for organizations of all types across the region to use as we re-open our workplaces, while considering the public health needs of our workforce, stakeholders, customers and community. 

The Safe Return KC Guide should be used along with guidance from the following: state and local public health departments; each local jurisdiction’s recovery plan; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules and regulations; trade association guidance; as well as all other laws applicable to your workplace to re-open the community after Stay-at-Home and other social distancing orders are lifted.

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