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Posted on: May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020 - County Launches Online Tool to Help Businesses Meet State Reopening Requirements

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 7pm ; Saturday 10am to 5pm

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services (OES) today is launching an online portal for businesses to submit a Reopening Plan in preparation for a gradual lifting of California’s Stay-at-Home Order.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that statewide restrictions on shopping malls, dine-in restaurants and some office spaces would ease somewhat, but the state will still require businesses to have a worksite specific plan in place before reopening. While reopening will occur in stages based on the state’s timelines, completing a local Reopening Plan now is a step businesses can take in advance to be ready to open, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of employees and customers.

Businesses should review the state guidelines for reopening and prepare their safety plans prior to starting the online process. Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said, “Businesses aren’t just checking boxes with this online application. The state mandates that the business conduct training for all of their employees, put in place procedures for cleaning and disinfecting their workplace, adapt their stores if needed to increase physical distance—all of those measures that will keep us all safer as businesses start to reopen.  I want to assure businesses that we will do everything we can to expedite the process.”

This process was designed by the Emergency Operations Center in collaboration with the Economic Impact and Recovery team. OES Economic Impact and Recovery Private Sector Coordinator Scott Adair said this process will allow businesses to employ a “thoughtful and purposeful approach” as they develop their Business Reopening Plans. “These plans are a state requirement for all businesses, and adoption is necessary in order to meet the Governor’s guidelines for an incremental reopening of the economy,” Adair said.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said, “Every business that we open adds to the number of people moving around and interacting in our community. All of that movement increases the likeliness of exposure and transmission. We have to reopen gradually and see what’s happening with our transmission rates and case count before we open up too much and risk overwhelming our health care system.”

Business Certification Process Guidance

All businesses are encouraged to prepare a plan and apply for certification. However, priority will be given to businesses that are currently open to the public such as grocery stores. Retail businesses open to delivery and curbside pickup only may apply to open their buildings to the public with state mandated protocols and precautions in place, but the timing of additional reopenings is dependent on state approval of the county’s expanded Stage Two plan and local approval by the County Health Officer. Supply chains that have opened to support these businesses, in the manufacturing and logistics sectors, will also need to apply to remain open.

Business owners and employers can utilize the online portal as follows:

  • Navigate to humboldtgov.org/covidreopening
  • Select the Reopening Plan form most appropriate to the business’ sector (i.e. Retail, Construction, etc.)
  • Fill out the form
  • Submit the form online
  • Applicants will receive a certificate of approval or will be asked for additional information
  • Plan approval does not constitute permission to reopen. A business with an approved plan can reopen once their sector is allowed to reopen by the state.

The information business owners and employers will need to complete the plan is included on the form for each sector, along with text boxes to briefly outline how state and local requirements will be incorporated into the specific facility’s plan. Completion of the form will take about 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the sector. To assist in filling out the Reopening Plan form, samples have been provided here: humboldtgov.org/covidreopeningsamples

Please note that guidance for some business sectors has not been provided by the state, including hair and nail salons and outdoor adventure businesses. Guidance for additional sectors will be incorporated into this process as it becomes available.

The Economic Impact and Recovery team is available to support businesses in navigating this process. The OES Business Task Force is also available to provide general support and guidance to businesses. The task force is comprised of the North Coast Small Business Development Center, the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission, the Arcata Economic Development Center and the Fortuna Business Improvement District.

The COVID Business Information Line can be reached at 707-268-2527. Contact information for the OES Business Task Force and links to other helpful business resources are available online at humboldtgov.org/covidbusiness.

For general information about COVID-19, please contact the Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000 or covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us.

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