Now that most manufacturing and logistics businesses are allowed to operate in San Jose the question becomes how to do so safely.

We have aggregated the following suggestions from a number of resources. While this is what we have found to be recommended, there is still much that is unknown about the virus. This is our best attempt to share what many companies are implementing. This article is only for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice; make sure you consult a professional regarding your unique business needs.

While these best practices supplement the requirements published by both the state and county public health departments, they in no way replace that guidance. Make sure you are complying with your local requirements for operation.

If you have questions that are not answered by this document, please e-mail Michael, our Regional Director, to schedule a consultation.


This guidance has been written with San Jose manufacturers in mind. While all of the best practices hold for manufacturers throughout the Bay Area, some of the links differ from county to county. For details about your county see our COVD-19 County Reopening document.

When reviewing Federal, State, and County public health guidelines, the strictest guidance is what you are supposed to follow – almost always that will be the county guidance.

In San Jose, you should primarily follow the guidance from the State Resilience Roadmap. However, the county has made a few additional requirements that can be found in the May 18th Health Order (with revision info effective June 5th).

Remember, the Public Health Department may update their guidance at any time. We will attempt to keep this space up to date but always make sure you are following the most recent guidelines.


  • If you experience symptoms of an illness, including but not limited to, fever, cough, or difficulty breathing you should seek medical care right away and avoid contact with others.
    • If you have a sick family member, stay home.
    • Communicate with your employer if you are staying home.
    • For details of when you should stay away from work, see Santa Clara County guidance.
  • Take your temperature when you start, go on break, and leave.
  • Bring a clean change of clothes daily and change into it on the premises.
  • Wash your hands as soon as you come in, every 2 hours, when you touch your face, and anytime there’s a delivery or you take a break.
  • Wear a mask, even if you’re not sick; also wear gowns, shields, gloves, or other PPE, as required.
  • Don’t touch your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Bring a lunch from home, extra points if you don’t have to use the microwave to heat it up.
  • Don’t hug, shake hands, or have any physical contact with your co-workers.

If you are worried that you have Coronavirus, you can get tested. Anyone who lives or works outside of the home in Santa Clara County can get tested, as often as needed. For more details, see SCC testing info.


Before opening your facility for the first time, remember to flush all of the stagnant water from the pipes. See SFPUC’s start up guidance for more information.


  • Before each work day, screen all of your employees for COVID-19 symptoms. For information on how to screen employees, see the updated DPH screening guidance and the  San Francisco screening handout.
    • You could do this in person, over the phone, or through email before staff enter your facility.
    • You do NOT need to log your employees’ answers. If they have been let in the facility and you have a screening process in place, it is assumed that they have been screened.
    • If you decide to log screening questions, remember not to share any of this information or leave it out where others can see it.
    • In addition, if you decide to keep a log, Cal/OSHA requires businesses to keep these documents for 30 years after the employee leaves the organization. See Cal/OSHA’s Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records standard (8 CCR 3204).
    • You should log who enters your facility, both staff and visitors for contact tracing purposes.


  • Everyone on-site should wear a face covering: workers, vendors, customers, delivery drivers.
  • Minimize the number of people on-site:
    • The number of people allowed in a manufacturing or logistics facility at any given time is 50 or the number of people who can work 6 feet apart, whichever is lower.
    • If an employee can work from home, they should work from home.
    • Stagger shifts to reduce interaction between staff.
    • Do not allow visitors unless essential such as pest control or linen service.
      • Have a clean-up policy in place for after such instances.
  • Everyone should remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.
  • Lay out production areas differently, with at least 6 feet between stations.
    • Change work practices to limit the number of workers in any work area. For instance, move from a cell based layout to a line based layout if necessary.
    • Use physical partitions or visual cues (e.g., floor markings, or signs to indicate to where workers should stand).
    • Consider rotating crew access to a designated area during a shift. Stage the facility to stagger work and limit overlap of work crews.
  • Restrict gatherings of any size.
    • Avoid in-person meetings or make sure they happen in areas large enough to keep physical distancing in place.
    • Stagger breaks and increase sanitation facilities to decrease the number of people needing access to breakrooms, kitchens, restrooms, etc. at any one time.
    • Clean breakrooms, lunch rooms, cafeterias, and sanitation facilities between each break. This includes cleaning all surfaces, appliances, tables, chairs, etc.
  • Move product between spaces / work stations in batches, rather than one at a time, to minimize interaction between individuals.
    • Use transfer aiding devices such as carts, shelves, or bulletin boards to transfer materials and information so that people do not come into contact. Sanitize such devices after touching them.
  • Institute “Contact-less” deliveries and pickups:
    • No shaking hands / high fives / fist bumps or other physical contact with accounts; a smile & wave is a perfectly acceptable greeting.
    • Request that a receiver sign invoices with their own pen.
    • Keep a 6ft minimum distance from others.
  • Increase ventilation in your facility by installing portable air-filters, increasing the quality of the air-filters you already have, increasing the volume of outside air your ventilation system uses, and keeping all your roll-up doors open.
  • Where social distancing cannot be maintained, use the following hierarchy of controls to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in work areas: engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE.
    • Engineering controls (physically separating the employee from the potential exposure source, most effective): include creating physical or spatial barriers between employees such as Plexiglas or other sturdy and impermeable partitions.
    • Administrative controls (relying on employee behavior modifications to reduce potential exposure):  include increasing the number of shifts to reduce the number of personnel present at one time and ensure adequate physical distancing.
    • PPE (least effective method and should only be used in conjunction with other controls): includes face shields, some masks, and impermeable gloves. Note that some disposable equipment such as some face shields and respirators are prioritized for health care workers and workers that handle pathogens and should not otherwise be used.


  • Ask staff to bring a clean change of clothes daily and change into it on the premises.
  • Ask staff to wash hands as soon as they come in, every 2 hours and anytime there’s a delivery or someone takes a break.
    • Make sure you have enough hand washing facilities with sufficient soap, water, and paper towels to allow for frequent hand washing.
    • Provide hand sanitizer for moments when hand washing is not possible.
    • If employees are wearing gloves, change or disinfect them often.
  • Provide masks, gloves, and other PPE for your employees.
  • Ask staff to wear clean masks during their shifts; if they take a break, ask them to wear a new mask.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning across the board, make sure all shared facilities are cleaned several times per shift.
  • Train your staff in correct sanitation procedures and display instructions on how to disinfect correctly, especially metal on which virus seems to stay active longer (example: with Clorox wipes, need to use enough to leave a surface visibly wet for at least four minutes afterward before it air-dries).
  • Make sure you have enough time in the workday scheduled for cleaning. This will take more time than normal as cleaning frequency of all areas must increase. You must compensate your staff for cleaning time.
  • When cleaning make sure you use products from the EPA’s approved List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Using a disinfectant spray or wipes, sanitize all the door knobs, switches, forklifts, hand trucks, mobile devices, chairs, and other commonly touched items at 4 designated times during each shift.
    • Beginning of the work shift, after coffee break, after lunch, at the end of the work shift; 4 different employees are appointed to the task and cleanings are kept on log.
  • If you are a large enough facility, consider increasing cleaning staff so that someone is constantly moving through the facility and sanitizing throughout the day.
  • Do not share phones, PPE, office supplies or any other tool. Provide individual tools and equipment wherever possible.
    • If it is not possible to provide individual equipment, make sure it is disinfected after each use or that staff wash hands/change gloves between uses.



  • Looking for more information about how to re-hire your staff? See our re-hiring blog post for more information.
  • Perform a risk assessment and create a written safety plan for every facility. For details on what that plan should include, see Health and Safety Plan template for manufacturers or Health and Safety Plan template for warehousing.
    • Think of this as a standard OSHA IIPP document but for COVID-19 safety.
  • Create and distribute production and logistics sanitation and workflow guidelines to your employees with details of social distancing and sanitation expectations.
  • Each facility will need to have a COVID supervisor – this person will manage the safety plan and make sure it’s being put into practice during each shift.
    • The best person for this is someone who is already on-site and who has a deep understanding of your processes: your shift leads, production manager, or shop foreman, for instance.
  • Create a sick leave policy and procedure for employees who are ill with COVID-19 and can’t come into work; tell sick employees to stay home.
  • You must complete and post social distancing protocols. They can be found here: Social Distancing Protocol (English).
  • Create space for questions from staff, like a daily meeting (remember to social distance during these meetings or do them virtually).
    • Update on any City policy and news, emphasize how important it is to follow instructions, and have a couple of employees sharing what they do at work or home to prevent COVID-19 spread.
  • Create a staggered break policy, as long as it is still within wage and hour laws
    • Employees have coffee break and lunch break at different hours to facilitate a 6 feet distance from each other.
    • During coffee breaks and lunch breaks, employees having breaks together sit facing in the same direction and keep 6 feet distancing from each other.


Provide training for employees on:

  • COVID-19 and how to prevent it from spreading.
  • Self-screening at home.
  • Not coming to work if they feel sick and to seek medical attention of their symptoms become severe.
  • Frequent handwashing with soap and water.
  • Physical distancing, both at work and off work time.
  • Proper use of face coverings.
  • New procedures in use at your facilities. This includes all social distancing and sanitation guidelines such as when to take breaks, how to remember to wash hands, when to use which types of PPE, how to properly sanitize different areas of the facility, etc.


If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, follow the procedures for isolation, contact tracing, and cleaning outlined by Santa Clara County DPH. This guidance includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Cease operations, close your facility, and thoroughly sanitize it. Instructions for sanitizing your facility may be found at CDC Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities. Your facility can reopen as soon as it has been sanitized.
  2. Instruct the sick employee to self-isolate at home.
  3. Inform other employees that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and the day(s) on which the potential exposure occurred. If you take this step, you should also instruct your employees to closely monitor themselves for any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, coughing, and/or shortness of breath) for 14 days. 

    You should consult your business’s legal and health advisors when implementing any part of this guidance.