Gawthrop Greenwood’s reopening experiences and insights recently became a feature story on Chesco.org as well as Chester County government’s weekly e-newsletter reaching thousands of residents county wide. Below is the text of that story.
Many people who work in an office setting continue to telework, in accordance with Governor Wolf’s orders. But what if it is necessary to report to work, or a face-to-face meeting is essential? Chester County’s COVID-19 Business Task Force asked the law firm Gawthrop Greenwood to share its perspective, as part of the county’s ongoing efforts to support businesses through the reopening process at RestoreChesterCounty.org
Restore Chester County: How has the office setting changed for employees at your West Chester location since Pennsylvania moved from the yellow phase to the green phase of reopening?
Sandra Knapp, Gawthrop Greenwood – Attorneys at Law: We continue to maintain the precautions we put in place during the yellow phase, with no changes, out of an abundance of caution for our employees, clients and other visitors. We found that those processes helped us to meet or exceed all recommended safety and cleaning protocols, while giving people the confidence and comfort they need when an in-person meeting is essential and business cannot be conducted virtually.
Restore Chester County: Are your offices open to the public?
Sandra Knapp: We do host visitors when a meeting is deemed essential, but to preserve everyone’s safety, walk-in visitors and non-essential visitors are not permitted to enter the building. After scheduling an appointment, visitors are asked to wear a face mask and maintain a social distance of 6 feet at all times. In our meeting rooms, chairs are spaced 6 feet apart, and our conference room tables have been marked to maintain social distancing. After any meeting, the area is sanitized. and of course our entire offices have undergone deep cleaning with sanitizing treatments, including daily professional cleanings in our lobby and meeting room spaces.
Restore Chester County: How are your attorneys and staff handling the safety precautions?
It takes constant vigilance and frankly, an abundance of commitment and work. But we all know that by adhering to theses safety precautions, we are able to work safely while continuing to deliver the services our clients require and expect. Legal needs do not stop during a pandemic. In some cases, they escalate. We are ready to have our team on site at the appropriate time to continue to provide legal services, while making accommodations for employees who do not feel comfortable coming back to the office or who must work remotely due to childcare issues
Restore Chester County: What is required of your attorneys and staff to maintain safety?
Sandra Knapp: Our attorneys continue to work remotely with limited staggered in-office schedules as necessary. Prior to reporting to the office, they must report their temperature to the firm. All employees must put on a face mask before entering the office and wash their hands at least once every hour while in the office. We have rearranged work areas to maintain social distancing, and all employees are required to sanitize their workspaces. Employees are encouraged to wear disposable gloves when opening the mail, scanning documents or in high touch areas.
It has been a major transition for everyone, and I continue to be impressed by the positive attitudes and commitment from our attorneys and staff members.
For more information on best practices for organizations and businesses as they reopen, as well as how to support them through the green phase, visit RestoreChesterCounty.org