In a survey of business leaders across U.S. metropolitan areas by The Conference Board, 35% have not set a date for reopening, while 39% said they would be reopening by the first quarter of 2021. Only 5% said that the availability of a vaccine would affect their reopening plans. Of the safety measures that businesses reported taking, the vast majority were buying safety equipment (82%), instituting workplace distancing requirements (80%) and cleaning workspaces (78%). Just under half (46%) said they planned to stagger shifts to reduce contact between employees, while only 19% were providing childcare options like on-site care or flexible scheduling and 13% were instituting safety measures for workers who use public transportation.
The survey found that 60% of companies surveyed workers about their comfortability returning to work. “Companies that sought worker sentiment about their comfort levels were more likely to implement safety measures specifically for workers taking public transportation, revise work-from-home policies and provide childcare options,” said Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board.