Until the prevalence of COVID-19 is reduced to minimal levels or there is herd immunity, businesses, churches and other organizations will likely have to continue to take measures to limit the risk of infection. This brief considers tools that could be adopted by businesses and other organizations to that end.
We emphasize that the purpose of these tools is to enhance trust and improve information sharing, so that individuals can move around more freely than would otherwise be the case in a world still filled with grave fear of a deadly disease. While such tools offer intrinsic benefits, they may also offer an alternative to the mandatory restrictions under which so many of us were or are laboring and which might otherwise be re-imposed should another wave of disease occur.
As state and local governments remove COVID-19-related restrictions on individuals, businesses, schools, churches and other organizations, we believe those organizations would in many cases benefit from implementing some or all of the actions we have outlined in this brief, clear delineation of the types of activities that may be undertaken and under what circumstances, application of best industry practices, and standards that embody those best practices. By so doing, organizations can help limit the likelihood of further transmission of SARS-CoV-2, enhance their reputation, and build trust among employees, customers, and members. But it cannot be stressed more strongly that the decision to implement these actions must be voluntary.
Each organization has better knowledge about its particular circumstances than does the government and, even though mistakes will be made, must be free to choose which measures to take. Moreover, as the incidence of COVID-19 declines in one place and then the next, such freedom of action affords organizations the opportunity quickly to remove measures that should only be in place when a substantial risk of infection is present.
This brief is part of a series: Strategies for Combating and Recovering From the Coronavirus Pandemic.