Many companies thought they had had their return-to-work plans pretty well mapped out: mandate masks, space out the desks, put up some plexiglass, and regularly wipe everything down.
Then, this happened: "We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19." Two weeks ago the World Health Organization’s lead technical expert on COVID-19 told reporters that tiny airborne droplets of the virus might contribute to its spread.
The W-H-O called for more scientific study into airborne transmission.
And employers called their healthcare consultants to figure out how they were going to keep staff safe in offices, stores, and job sites.
Consultants told Reuters their clients are now re-assessing if they have gone far enough with policies on mask-wearing, sealing off conference rooms and upgrading ventilation systems. Retailers who installed plexiglass barriers in their stores are wondering what else they can do if small viral droplets can linger in the air for hours.
Those with large offices now wonder how staff can safely share an elevator or attend an in-person meeting.
Consultants said they are advising employers to go beyond their existing plans.
Some firms are delaying their returns to work, or reducing office staff to a mere 10 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
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