New report suggests ways to safely get back to work amid pandemic

(CNN) – The coronavirus pandemic recently stopped the economy in its tracks. Now businesses across the United States are slowly reopening.

With millions still unemployed and others still waiting to get back to work, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine outlines what businesses can do to safely resume operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees and customers are encouraged to do what’s already been asked of everyone: Wash hands frequently, wear masks, stay apart, and stay home if unwell.

But the report also suggests employers may take disciplinary action against employees who don’t abide by those guidelines. It also advises employers to offer or extend sick-leave benefits to encourage workers to stay home when feeling sick.

Businesses can also place partitions or barriers between workers or between employees and customers, and they can improve ventilation and air circulation.

Staggered work schedules can help keep employees safer, as can accommodations to workers at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from the virus, including the option to work from home.

Once there’s an increase in virus testing capacity, the report says employers can also do contact tracing to help slow a potential spread in the workplace.

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