Reopening Process: Returning to “Normal” After COVID-19

Stay at home orders began in March but we know they will not last forever. Starting in April and May, each state and regional groups of states have devised their reopening plans, delicately balancing the safety of their citizens and the freedoms of individuals to return to work, travel, and resume life as “normal”. While the new normal won’t be the same as our old way of life, we have organized some articles and documents to help you and your business prepare for reopening.

COVID-19 Explained: COVID-19 is confusing. We are here with facts about the virus. How does it spread? How is it treated? Who does it affect most? Unbiased information to help you make good decisions.

Reopening Resources for Businesses & Nonprofits

Additional COVID-19 resources

COVID-19 Dashboards for students

PA COVID-19 School Reopening Guidance

PA College Town Reopening Dashboard

National COVID-19 School Response Dashboard

Process to Reopen Pennsylvania

Visit for full details.

As of May 1, 2020, please keep in mind that limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process. This guidance will stay in place for the duration of the reopening process until there is robust testing, community-wide surveillance, contact tracing, and/or other means to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
Life Sustaining Businesses Only
Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed
Social Restrictions
Stay at Home Orders in Place
Large Gatherings Prohibited
Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
Only Travel for Life-Sustaining Purposes Encouraged
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Safety Orders
Child Care Open Complying with Guidance
Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
Schools Remain Closed for In-Person Instruction
Social Restrictions
Stay at Home Order Lifted for Aggressive Mitigation
Large Gatherings of More Than 25 Prohibited
In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services, and all Entertainment Remain Closed
Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only
Work & Congregate Setting Restrictions
All Businesses Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
Social Restrictions
Aggressive Mitigation Lifted
All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

See Which States Are Reopening and Which Are Still Shut Down (NYT)

Pennsylvania Coronavirus Map and Case Count

Delaware Coronavirus Map and Case Count

Graphic to assist in reopening decisions (

Resources for Businesses/Nonprofits

2020 Bringing PA Back: Business Readiness Webinar Series (PACBI)

  • A FREE, 5-part webinar series to give guidance for getting your organization open for business after the COVID-19 pandemic.

AIHA “Back to Work Safely” Guide (AIHA)

  • AIHA provides science-based recommendations for limiting the transmission of the coronavirus while operating in a general office workspace, focusing on workplace preparation, workforce management and employee readiness.

Avoid Making These 5 Mistakes When You Reopen Your Business After the Pandemic (Business Insider)

  • Maintain social distancing restrictions in the workplace: move desks so they are 6 feet apart, make communal restrooms into one-person bathrooms, make hallways one-way traffic only, etc. 

Be Smart and Safe About Reopening Your Small Business in a Post-Coronavirus Eorld (USA Today)

  • Focus on safety and cleanliness; remain flexible and creative about employees work needs.

Businesses and Workplace: Plan, Prepare, and Respond (CDC)

  • Access ongoing mitigation guidance for the workplace and prevention/support resources for businesses.

CCEDC List of PPE Providers in ChesCo (CCEDC)

  • The Chester County Economic Development Council compiled a list of PPE providers throughout the county.

Gr. Phila Funders’ Meetings (Philanthropy Network of Gr. Philadelphia)

  • Funders and Nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia region convene weekly to discuss emerging issues and projects. These notes specifically touch on nonprofit reopening and related questions/topics.

COVID-19: A Checklist for Returning to Work (Workest)

  • Explore the various scenarios where employees may be able to come back to work — based on their current, or recently past, health status related to COVID-19.

Getting Back to Business: COVID-19 Financial & Workplace Safety Updates (NFIB)

  • NFIB discusses a range of financial and legal issues that may present themselves as businesses re-open. Additionally, the webinar touches on workplace health and safety tips.

Google and Twitter Are Right. Workers Should Stay Home. (Bloomberg Opinion)

  • As many businesses prepare to reopen their doors, making necessary safety adjustments like staggering shifts and removing common spaces, some are committed to allowing their employees to work from home indefinitely.

Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting upon Reopening (CDC)

  • The CDC provides a guide for developing, implementing, and maintaining cleaning and disinfecting protocol when we return to our workspaces.

Implementing a National Return to Work Plan (US Chamber of Commerce)

  •  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce outlines some of the major implications of returning to work in this environment—ranging from workplace safety and employee rights to liability concerns and continued revenue disruptions.

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (CDC)

  • Encourage sick works to stay home and implement flexible sick leave.

Reopening Toolkit (SCORE)

  • This toolkit will help your small business prepare to reopen in this new market environment, taking into consideration how methods of doing business will change in the future as a result of COVID-19.

Restore Chester County (Chester County Task Force)

  • Restore Chester County is a task force of qualified community members which has band together to formulate a detailed, informed reopening plan for all of Chester County. This website offers toolkits for businesses and residents, in addition to individual business & organization sectors toolkits.

Example Reopening Plans

N.J. and Philadelphia are Moving Toward Reopening (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Plans for reopening in New Jersey and Philadelphia are underway as new cases of COVID-19 continue to decrease and testing capabilities increase.
  • Even as states begin to enter the yellow and green phases of reopening, large-scale in-person gatherings will still be avoided; instead, many summer festivals and events are going virtual.

Governor Cuomo Outlines Additional Guidelines for When Regions Can Re-Open

This Fortune 500 company has a plan for reopening amid COVID-19 — and is sharing it with everyone (ABC News)

Looking to Other Countries

Life After Lockdown: How China Went Back to Work (CNN)

  • Many countries are looking to China to get a sense of what life might be like when stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. But there is still a lot of uncertainty in China and many are anxious as they watch other countries struggle to contain the virus.