We Are Open: Business as New Normal

We Are Open: Business as New Normal

The scene on the streets across America and around the world makes it hard to believe that we are still reeling from the effects of a global pandemic that has infected over 6.29 million people and taken the lives of nearly 385,349 as of the writing of this article.   Across the world, and specifically in America, the rate of reopening varies considerably; according to Business Insider, places like New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Puerto Rico are still under stay-at-home rules through the second week of June.

There is no doubt that people are ready to get outside, but are we truly equipped to reopen our states, cities, and communities? We cannot begin to quantify the effect of being indoors has had on the mental and physical state of many individuals across the nation and around the world. Despite the gamble, the urge to be outdoors for many seems to be worth the risk. At the height of the lockdown, a report by Business Insider showed that a third of the world’s population had their movement restricted and controlled by their respective governments. The report goes on to note that in late March, 94% of the U.S. population – a total of 308 million people in 42 states – were under stay-at-home orders.

These statistics are compelling and help us understand why people are feeling ready to emerge from these restraints. But the question still remains: are we truly ready for reopening? The proposed guidelines prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and released by The White House are entitled “Guidelines: Opening Up America Again.” These guidelines call for very specific benchmarks and criteria to be met prior to reopening. The guidance is framed as a phased approach with three prongs: one focusing on the economy, another on getting people back to work, and the third on the continued protection of American lives.

In the list below, I highlight elements of the new guidelines for reopening. These items can serve as guideposts for your consideration as you rejoin the reopening process. These guidelines may vary in different places as they relate to the impact the coronavirus has had in regions throughout the United States.

  • In terms of symptoms, states should see a downward turn of flu-like illnesses and COVID-19-like cases reported within a 14-day period.

  • As it relates to cases of COVID-19, states should see a downward turn of documented cases or positive tests within a 14-day period.

  • Hospitals treating COVID-19 patients should not be in crisis care and should procure and administer the emerging antibody testing to health care workers in an effort to assess for previous exposure to the coronavirus.

  • Health care workers must have sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment.

  • States should have testing sites in place for quick testing and contact tracing of those who may have been exposed; this is especially true for communities with high rates of COVID-19, such as the African American community. 

  • States should have plans in place to protect the safety of those living and working in assisted care facilities.

  • Protective plans should be in place for employees and users of transit.

  • Employers should develop policies for implementation of CDC guidance, to include:

    • Social distancing, encouragement of teleworking, a phased return to work, and special accommodations for members of vulnerable populations.

    • Temperature checks and availability of protective equipment for workers.

    • Implementation of sanitation measures of common and high-traffic areas.

    • Minimization of business and nonessential travel.   

  • Schools and organized youth activities should remain closed.

  • Visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited.

  • Large venues, such as movie theaters, sporting venues, and churches, can operate under strict social distancing policies.

  • Elective surgeries can be resumed on an outpatient basis.

  • Gyms can reopen with strict social distancing and sanitation.

  • Bars should remain closed.

  • Individuals should continue to practice good hygiene, and those who are sick should stay at home.  

As we move back into the quest for normalcy in our lives, we can use these guidelines as an assessment of what’s happening based on the report of the day relative to our comfort level. Although we are ready to go outside and for things to reopen, let’s be smart about it.


 Vanessa Ingrid Farrell is a speaker, best-selling author, CEO and founder of VI Health & Wellness Coaching, LLC. Her coaching practice helps busy women, especially those in leadership roles unapologetically prioritize and preserve their heart health without sacrificing career and the joys of everyday life experiences.  Born on the beautiful island of Montserrat, she currently resides on the island of St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands.  You can reach Vanessa at VIFarrell333@gmail.com.  You can find Vanessa’s work on  Amazon