June 6, 2020

We've all seen restaurant windows glittered with Zagat, Grubhub, and other stickers signaling that delicious cuisine awaits inside. As businesses re-open across Chicago, the City is offering another decal to signal safety: the Be Safe. Chicago: Business Self-Certification badge.

This program allows businesses, such as restaurants, bars, nail salons, and other companies, to broadcast that they are taking meaningful steps toward reducing the transmission of COVID-19. After reviewing industry guidelines and developing a re-opening plan, businesses participate in a survey self-certifying that definitive and important safety measures are in place. If the business qualifies for self-certification, it will receive a badge to post in a prominent location. The City is also encouraging self-certifiers to post on social media under #BeSafeChicago.

The survey asks the following (paraphrased) safety-related questions:

  • Have you reviewed appropriate industry guidelines?
  • Have you restructured to accommodate for social distancing?
  • Have you closed non-essential common areas and limited gatherings to no more than 10 people at a time?
  • Do you require employees and customers to wear face coverings and PPE, according to industry guidelines?
  • Have you ensured the availability of hand sanitizer?
  • Have you suspended the use of shared items, where possible?
  • Have you conducted employee safety training, such as for handwashing?
  • Are you committed to ensuring employees stay home if they run a temperature at or above 100 degrees or experience COVID-19 symptoms?
  • Do you provide visual guidance for social distancing and entry requirements?
  • Do you encourage employees to work remotely, when possible?
  • Have you structured operations to reduce employee overlap, where possible?
  • Are you committed to reporting and tracing protocols, per industry guidelines?
  • How do you plan to go above and beyond the guidelines? (The City is looking for "creative and innovative" approaches.)

The survey also requires the self-certifier to include a detailed description of the company's plan to re-open.

Self-certifying may impact consumer behavior. It also appears to be a meaningful way to communicate a company's health and safety efforts to employees, customers, and the community generally. Please reach out to your Much attorneys if you have any questions about the survey or if you would like more information about the process.

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.