First Week Back at the Office Amid 2019-nCoV

Employees are seeing the end of the first week back at the office after an extended holiday due to the novel coronavirus.

“People are concerned and worried about returning to work,” Chen Hui, owner of Lian Mei Printing Factory, said.

The Chinese government is enforcing strict safety measures as employees return to work. Temperature checks have become standard procedure before entering buildings. People must wear a face mask while in the office, wash their hands and use disinfectant according to an announcement from the Dongguan Bureau of Foreign Affairs.

“We need to check temperatures every two hours for all workers. There cannot be more than three people in one room. At the entrance, we organized a station to change shoes and wash and sterilize hands. We are sterilizing the factory on Friday. All workers had to fill out a form stating where they went during the Chinese New Year,” Anna Grinvald, CEO of Grinvald Footwear and GTS Group, said.

She said her factory opened on Monday but was closed the next day due to a breach of regulations. They are working on complying with the regulations and are scheduled to reopen on February 17. Grinvald supports the precautions the government is taking and said they make sense.

Some companies are choosing to continue to work from home.

"It is our company’ s decision to work at home this week. I do not know where we will work next week, because the virus situation keeps changing everyday," a representative from Mous, a company based in Dongcheng, said.

Chen's factory is working with 15 percent of its employees, adding only the ones who need to be there are. Most employees who live in rural areas are unable to find transportation to get to the factory.

“Many of those colleagues just cannot make it back, no transportation, or the villages just do not allow them to leave,” Chen said.

Offices are required to be disinfected regularly and employers must provide the necessary equipment. Offices should be cleaned and ventilated three times a day for 20 to 30 minutes at a time according to the Dongguan Bureau of Foreign Affairs.

A government official, or a representative from the building who reports to the government, checks offices are complying with the new regulations. If offices do not comply with the regulations, they are asked to cease work immediately.