The COVID-19 pandemic establishes an extraordinary challenge with severe socio-economic consequences for all the economies around the globe. Asian Development Bank, in its Asian Development Outlook 2020 (ADB, 2020) forecasted global losses from COVID-19 ranging from $2.0 trillion to $4.1 trillion, equal to 2.3%–4.8% of global GDP. It is supposed that the economic indicators have started rapid slowdown after governments publicized notice on complete lockdown imposing new restrictions for countries. Rule-makers made the decision at the time when the virus demonstrated the potential of progress within the population. Conferring to the experience of different countries, so-called non-pharmaceutical interventions, including complete lockdown – aimed at reducing contact rates in the population and thereby reducing transmission of the virus (Imperial College London, March 2020). Meanwhile, according to the same source, suppression, while effective in China and South Korea, brings with it massive social and economic costs. However, the impact of lockdown in long-term prediction seems to be less detrimental (Correia, Luck, and Verne, March 2020), as the economies accelerate the processes to recover losses.
Lockdown challenge counties in several ways – one of them considered to be de-confinement defies. Currently, administrations around the world design comprehensive measures to start to ease the quarantine. The United States of America, on the federal level and as well as on state levels, designed a three-phased approach (White House, 2020) intended to help state and local officials when reopening their economies. State-level approaches are harmonized with centralized attitudes nevertheless taking into account also state-specific stipulations.
California’s resilience projections contain the following stages (California State Government, 2020):
STAGE 1 – make workplaces safe for our essential workers.
STAGE 2 – gradually reopen retail (curbside only), manufacturing & logistics. Later, relax retail restrictions, adapt & reopen schools, child care, offices & limited hospitality, personal services.
STAGE 3 – adapt and reopen movie theaters, religious services, & more personal & hospitality services.
STAGE 4 – reopen areas of highest risk: e.g. concerts, conventions, sports arenas.
At this moment, California moved into Stage 2 of resilience on May 8, 2020. The evolution in attaining key public health metrics may allow a steady re-opening of California’s economy. However, for now, California State Government encourages businesses to implement effective alternative or innovative methods upon the guidelines published (California State Government, 2020) by the officials. According to the action plan, before reopening, companies must:
- Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan,
- Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them,
- Implement individual control measures and screenings,
- Implement disinfecting protocols,
- Implement physical distancing guidelines,
As for now precise information about the number and rates of COVID-19 by industry or occupational groups, including among critical infrastructure workers, is not available at this time. There have been multiple outbreaks in a range of workplaces, indicating that workers are at risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID-19 infection. Examples of these workplaces include long-term care facilities, prisons, food production, warehouses, meat processing plants, and grocery stores. Therefore, as stay-at-home orders are modified, it is essential that all possible steps be taken to ensure the safety of workers and the public. Key prevention practices include:
- physical distancing to the maximum extent possible,
- use of face coverings by employees (where respiratory protection is not required) and customers/clients,
- frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection,
- training employees on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan.
In addition, it will be critical to have in place appropriate processes to identify new cases of illness in workplaces and, when they are identified, to intervene quickly and work with public health authorities to halt the spread of the virus. Moreover, according to Government programs supporting sick leave and worker’s compensation for COVID-19, it is critical that employees needing to self-isolate because of COVID-19 are encouraged to stay at home. The Government encourage also to implement industry-specific measures and checklists upon the industry-specific guidance published on https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/.
As for now, the pandemic shows positive tendency, as the metrics of the velocity of distribution and the number of deaths are decreasing gradually. Therefore, it is highly important for each of us to follow the guidelines and rules imposed by the officials.