Back to Business Safely: Professional & Financial Services Guide

North Carolina's initial Stay at Home Order (Executive Order 121) went into effect at 5:00pm on March 30th. This action deemed Professional Services and Financial Institutions, along with several other business types, as Essential Businesses, and permitted their operation within certain parameters. Below you will find recommended guidelines and actions to operate your business safely.

 

​Under Executive Order 121, "Professional Services" includes legal services, accounting services, insurance services, professional engineering and architectural services, land surveying services, real estate services (including brokerage, appraisal and title services) and tax preparation services. “Financial Institutions” include banks, currency exchanges, consumer lenders, including but not limited to, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions, and institutions selling financial products, as well as insurance companies, underwriters, agents, brokers, and related insurance claims and agency services.

Recommended Actions

  • Follow the CDC guidance if a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

  • Make accommodations for employees at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19

  • Promote telework.

  • Limit non-essential travel.

  • Promote hygiene, including frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer.

  • Have employees wear cloth face coverings and provide information on proper use, removal, and washing.

The following button provides a downloadable and editable NC Department of Health & Human Services checklist to guide business owners through safe and healthy operating procedures.

Employees

  • Encourage sick employees to stay home and support with sick leave policy.

  • Exclude employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 per CDC guidance,
    until they say "yes" to all three questions:

  1. Has it been at least ten (10) days since you first had symptoms? 

  2. Has it been at least three (3) days since you’ve had a fever without using fever reducing medicine?

  3. Has it been at least three (3) days since your symptoms have improved?

  • Have a plan for immediately isolating employee from work if symptoms develop.

  • Screen employees daily for symptoms before entering the workplace and immediately send symptomatic workers home to isolate.

Cleaning

  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

  • Make hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) available and have a plan to systematically and frequently check availability.  

  • Make soap and hand drying materials available at sinks.

Signage

  • Post signage at business entrances outlining customer/client responsibilities 

  • Provide employees with education about COVID-19 prevention strategies, using methods like videos, webinars, or FAQs.

  • Share available help line information (2-1-1 and Hope4NC Helpline, 1-855-587-3463).

 

Social Distancing Plans​

  • Provide six (6) feet of distance between desks, and/or by staggering shifts.

  • Limit face-to-face meetings to no more than ten (I0) workers.

  • Direct employees to stay at least six (6) feet apart from one another and from customers and clients, to the greatest extent possible.

  • Designate times for seniors and other high-risk populations to access services.

  • Place markings on the floor and designate entrance and exit points to promote social distancing.

  • Clearly mark six (6) feet of spacing in lines and other areas where people congregate and enforce those limitations.

  • Clearly mark six (6) feet of spacing in a designated area outside the establishment where people congregate due to limits on indoor capacity.

 

Other

  • Ensure compliance & minimize legal risk

    • Ensure your business is following best-practices and guidelines issued by State Licensing Boards and the NCDHHS.

    • Consult with a lawyer to ensure legal risk and liability is minimized.

  • Water and Air Systems

    • Check that building water and water systems are safe to use and minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water. 

    • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods.