As the spread of COVID-19 looks to be on a downward slope, states across the U.S. have begun to ease their social distancing restrictions, allowing people to head back outside, back to work, and back to doing some of their normal things, like eating at restaurants and retail shopping.
California’s Second Phase
But one of the hardest hit states, California, is rolling out its own reopening plan, opting for multiple stages and a slow release to get the state back to normal.
In recently released guidelines, Gov. Gavin Newsom has introduced Phase 2 of California’s reopening efforts, focusing on dine-in restaurants, shopping malls, office buildings, and more. Some parts of the state are allowed to reopen with certain modifications as long as the county gives the go-ahead. Those sectors also include logistics, which is directly tied to the trucking industry.
At this point, only 18 of the state’s 58 counties have been approved by the state government to reopen. In order to be approved for further reopening, counties must prove they meet the following criteria:
- No more than one new COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents in the past 14 days
- Essential workers must have access to PPE
- At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents
- Ability to temporarily house 15% of the county’s homeless population
- Continue to monitor metrics to potentially re-enact restrictions
Regardless of where they open in the state, restaurants, schools, and shopping centers will have to follow strict rules to reduce the risk of spreading the virus any further.
CA Reopening and Logistics
The logistics sector is directly tied to trucking, as pallets of products need to be held in one location, loaded on a truck, then moved to another location. From one location to another, many different working hands will handle the product. Trucking professionals, while they may not directly come in contact with the product they haul, are advised to follow the same strict guidelines as logistics and warehouse workers who do.
Before participating in CA reopening orders, all warehouse facilities 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
For further guidance, the California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA released specific outlines. The Logistics and Warehouse Guidance outlines certain protocols to be included in a company’s worksite-specific written plan, like cleaning delivery vehicles and equipment before and after a delivery is made, providing sanitation materials during deliveries, inspecting deliveries, and performing disinfection measures where appropriate before storing goods in warehouses.
The guidelines also point to workers’ rights and expectations by highlighting the need to provide working time for workers to implement cleaning practices before and after shifts, minimizing transaction time between warehouse employees and transportation employees, such as truckers, staggering shifts and break times, and installing spacial barriers to aid in social distancing efforts.
Businesses involved in logistics, such as warehouses and trucking companies, must provide adequate employee training that covers CDC guidelines, hand washing, self-assessment at home, social distancing, and other protective measures. Furthermore, businesses must regularly evaluate the worksite for compliance with the guidance provided and make attempts to correct any deficiencies.
While trucking and logistics continue to thrive during these unprecedented times, the atmosphere around the industries, like all industries, has changed. And since California’s economy is heavily dependent upon these two sectors, it’s expected that they may be changed forever, having to following these guidelines and similar guidelines for the foreseeable future.
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