4 phases of reopening
We submitted our Phase 2 application. Secretary of Health John Wiesman will now review the application. If he has questions or concerns, we'll work quickly to address them. We are still in Phase 1 until the application is approved.
Return to work safely.
Free personal protective equipment for Pierce County businesses
Pierce County will provide free personal protective equipment (PPE) to county businesses. This includes disposable, non-surgical masks and no-touch infrared forehead thermometers.
Businesses should complete a PPE request form at www.piercecountywa.gov/BusinessPPE. Pierce County will distribute the PPE from June 1-3, while supplies last.
Is your business preparing to re-open?
Use the tools and tips below to help open you business safely. See more information about reopening guidance.
We want to ensure Pierce County businesses reopen while maintaining the health and safety of employees and the public. Use this template to create a safety plan for your business or organization.
If you still have questions call (855) 722-5378. We are here Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., except holidays.
Keep your employees and customers healthy.
| Grocery Stores
|| Food Establishments
|Clean & Disinfect||Clean & Disinfect
in the Kitchen
| Health & Safety for
|Tips for Cloth
Post healthy reminders for your employees.
|| Stay home if you're sick.
|| Wash your hands.
|| Cover your coughs
How to prepare for COVID-19 in your business
Businesses should plan how to decrease the spread COVID-19 during the pandemic. We recommended the following strategies.
Urge employees, particularly sick ones, to stay home.
- Employees with a fever or who show symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay home.
- Don't require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness.
- Encourage all employees to protect themselves:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
Download our Triage for Medical Need infographic, available in multiple languages:
Implement social distancing.
- All employees should telework as much as possible.
- Apply social distancing methods:
- Offer flexible work hours.
- Stagger work schedules.
- Avoid contact like handshakes or high-fives. Maintain 6 feet of separation.
- Remove large work-related gatherings like conferences or staff meetings.
- Meet via phone or electronically, rather than in-person.
Ensure your sick leave policies are up to date.
- Understand Washington's paid sick leave law.
- Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for themselves or a sick family member.
- Review policies to ensure your sick leave policies and practices are consistent with public health guidance.
- Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners.
Prepare for increased absences.
- Monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue essential business functions in the event you experience high levels of absent employees.
- Cross-train staff to perform essential functions so your business or government agency can operate even if key staff members are absent.
- Prepare to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
- Consider canceling non-essential business travel to other countries per CDC's travel guidance.
Notify employees of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, notify employees of their potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Make sure you maintain confidentiality, as required by the Americans with Disability Act.
- The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) requires employers to implement the Governor's Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order.
- Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce—Free conference calls to help business.
- Pierce County's Disaster Loan Assistance.
- COVID-19 resource list for impacted Washington business and workers.
- City of Tacoma—Business resources and financing incentives.
- Pierce County Emergency Management.
- Guidance for Pierce County Employers.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Washington State Department of Health.
- Washington State Employment Security Department.
What type of cleaning and disinfecting products should I use?
Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) with regular household detergent and water.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved products with emerging viral pathogens claims. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
Products will have the following claim:
This product demonstrates effectiveness against viruses like COVID-19 on hard non-porous surfaces. Therefore, this product can be used against COVID-19 when used in accordance with the directions for use against [name of supporting virus] on hard, non-porous surfaces.
Green products receive certification from a third party. Products will have a note on the label. DOH recommends green products but doesn’t require them.
I don’t want to follow Governor Inslee’s proclamations. What happens if I don't follow the rules?Gov. Inslee declared a State of Emergency in Washington State. According to RCW 43.06.220 State of Emergency—Powers of governor pursuant to proclamation, any person who willfully violates any provisions of an order issued by the governor is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
How can employers protect workers?
As much as possible, employers should encourage and support remote work. We encourage people to wash their hands often, cover mouth and nose when they cough and sneeze and stay home when they are sick. We recommend employers have sick leave available and policies in place. Check out more information for employers and businesses on the CDC's website.
I work with infectious or medical waste. Should I take additional precautions?
Workers and employers should manage waste contaminated with COVID-19 the same as they would with other regulated medical or infectious waste. Worker should follow standard practices and wear PPE required as part of their normal duties.
For additional information consult the regulated medical waste information in CDC’s guidelines for environmental infection control in healthcare facilities.
How do I social distance at my business or government agency (non-medical facility)?
Implement telework options for your staff. If staff can't work from home, follow these recommendations:
- Increase physical distance between staff.
- Allow flexible work hours or stagger shifts.
- Remind employees they should not use other employee’s phones, desks, offices, equipment or other work tools.
- Provide education and informational materials about worker health and safety, including proper hygiene practices.
- Protect workers in close contact with a sick person by providing personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Sick employees or employees with sick family members need to stay home.
- Separate sick employees from other employees and send them home immediately.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, using routine cleaning practices.
Find more guidance on these websites:
I had COVID-19, when can I return to work?
If you tested positive for COVID-19, you need to remain under home isolation for 10 days and for 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms are better.
I think my business is essential. How can my business be added to the state list of essential businesses?
I work in solid waste. Should I take additional precautions?
Current OSHA and CDC guidance for COVID-19 exposure during solid waste management indicates the risk is low. COVID-19 transmits by droplets and waste is consolidated.
Solid waste workers should use current required personal protective equipment (PPE) for protection.
We recommend the following steps when you handle bagged solid waste:
- Wear required PPE.
- Do not touch your face.
- Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based sanitizer if handwashing is not available.
- Do not come to work if you feel sick.
I work in wastewater. Should I take additional precautions?
The CDC currently expects the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through sewage systems is low. Current disinfection in wastewater treatment facilities are sufficient.
Wastewater treatment plant workers should follow routine practices to prevent exposure to wastewater. Wastewater workers should use standard practices including basic hygiene precautions and recommended PPE for their current work tasks when they handle untreated waste.
If field crews come in contact with a person who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 should we be reporting these cases?Follow guidance from Washington State Department of Health: What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19.
Should I take additional precautions with COVID-19 waste?
What businesses are affected by Governor Inslee’s statewide closure of all on-site food or beverage services?
The ban includes, but is not limited to:
• Food courts.
• Bars and taverns.
• Wine, beer and spirits tasting venues.
• Doughnut shops and ice cream parlors.
• Coffee shops.
• Sit-down airport restaurants and bars.
Take-out, delivery and drive-thru food and beverage services are not banned under the proclamation.
What if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
Your employee generally needs to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected. Close contact includes:
- Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19,
- Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
- Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes, OR
- Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.)
Each disease investigation is unique. When appropriate, the Health Department provides specific guidance to organizations, businesses, schools and government officials based on possible disease exposure risk.
We encourage as many people as possible to stay home if able. If you are a close contact of a confirmed case or are experiencing symptoms, ensure you can stay home.
All staff should:
- Monitor themselves for symptoms.
- Practice social distancing.
- Stay home if they develop any symptoms.
- Wash their hands.
What if I can't pay my food establishment permit renewal or invoice on time?
We understand businesses in Pierce County are having a tough time right now.
To aid food establishments open before the Coronavirus outbreak, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department deferred all financial penalties and permit suspensions on:
- Unpaid food establishment permit renewals.
- Other outstanding account balances.
This allows for a longer grace period during the COVID-19 outbreak. We haven't identified end date for this deferment. We will communicate with food establishments in advance when we determine a date.
Any facility going through plan review or anyone currently purchasing an establishment, must pay for their permit before they can operate.
What is the Governor’s plan to restart construction projects?Low-risk construction projects can restart if they comply with physical distancing and health and safety requirements. Plan requirements include safety training, physical distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation and cleanliness, monitoring employees for symptoms and logging job site visitors. Read more about the Governor’s COVID-19 Safety Plan.