Each situation is unique and we can help you craft a warning that fits your individual factual scenario.  But here are a few questions to consider first.

  • Prior to learning about the infected person’s presence at your premises, what were you doing to limit the spread of the virus?
  • What parts of the premises were visited by the infected person and how long was he or she at the premises (do you know what he or she touched, if anything)?
  • How soon after the infected person visited the premises did you discover they were positive for COVID-19?
  • What steps did you take upon learning of this information and when did you take these steps?

With this information, you can draft a warning that addresses these and other salient points.  Here is a hypothetical example.

  • You have been implementing the CDC and local guidance for businesses as it evolves.
  • You learned about the event within 24 hours.
  • You shut down the premises and did a deep clean in accordance with CDC and local guidance and kept the premises shut for 3 days.

Based upon these hypothetical facts, if you wanted to voluntarily warn invitees entering your premises, you could place a warning at the entrances stating something along these lines:

Please be advised that we have been implementing at this premises the evolving Center for Disease Control’s Guidance (as well as local guidance) on COVID-19, including their cleaning and disinfecting recommendations and we continue to track those recommendations for updates to keep our procedures current.  We recently learned that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (also referred to as the “coronavirus”) was present in this building on March 15, 2020 and reportedly only visited the first floor.  We learned about this event on March 16, 2020.  We then shut down the premises for three days and engaged in cleaning and disinfection in accordance with CDC and local guidance.  Based upon recent studies, COVID-19 does not live on cardboard, plastic, stainless steel or copper for more than 3 days.  Here, four days passed between the time the infected person was present at the facility and the time the building was re-opened post cleaning and disinfection.  We are providing you with this warning regarding a person with COVID-19 being present at this premises on the first floor on March 15, 2020 out of an abundance of caution.  The health and safety of our community is of utmost importance to us.

Your facts could be very different from these and we are not recommending here that you take the course of action outlined in the hypothetical.  However, please see our blog post on “What to Do if a Person Suspected or confirmed to Have COVID-19 Has Been at My Facility” at bclpemerging.com for further guidance.  We can be reached to answer your questions at susan.brice@bryancave.com or tom.lee@bryancave.com.