Reopening the State of Texasrsevers
Last week Governor Abbott announced the “Open Texas” initiative and which specific types of businesses could reopen if they followed specific health guidelines and wanted to resume business now. The Texas Department of State Health Services has published recommended health safety protocols for businesses by industry, as well as for individuals, customers, and employees returning to work. These can be found online at: https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/opentexas.aspx
Repopulating the Complex
The Open Texas initiative allows for opening office buildings at only 25% occupancy on May 18, provided that national and state health safety protocol are followed and that property owners wish to open. The Governor’s guidance to state agencies is to continue to work from home when possible.
As Texas reopens for business, some State agencies may return to work at the Capitol Complex sooner than others. Individual agency’s reconstitution timelines will be dictated by business needs and the discretion of agency leaders who are carefully planning how to best serve their constituents and safely repopulate their offices per the published guidance of the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Office of the Governor.
Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) continues to provide custodial services (cleaning/disinfection) to State buildings even when tenant agencies have vacated their buildings and the buildings are closed to the public. TFC custodial personnel or contractors wear disposable protective gloves and clean with disposable paper towels and use disinfectants recommended on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) to clean and disinfect common areas, conference rooms, door handles, hard surfaces, elevators, stairwells, restrooms and breakrooms. TFC follows the CDC guidance and protocol for cleaning facilities, and tenants with special cleaning situations can work with the TFC property management team to address their needs.
Tips for returning to the workplace
The pandemic has created a ‘new normal’ for our lives and workplaces. Here are three tips to ease the return to our offices.
- Take care of yourself – Eat well, drink plenty of water, exercise, get rest and relaxation, and take care of yourself to stay productive at home and at work. If you feel ill – do not go to your workplace, instead call your health care provider for instructions.
- Be self-sufficient and prepared – Plan on what you will take to work. Take a mask or face covering. Take your lunch, snacks, and drinks to work to reduce time in breakrooms or lunchroom. And most importantly, take along the tools and things you need to work safely.
- Be patient – This is a “new normal” for all of us. Expect other changes to our workplaces and work processes over the coming months. Read the safety protocols and instructions provided by your employer. And finally, be patient with yourself and others. We are all in this together.