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Businesses preparing to bring workers back to offices

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MADISON (WKOW) -- As Epic makes changes to its plan to bring workers back to campus in Verona, other businesses across the area are working to start bringing people back to work in person.

"This is bigger than Epic, this is a question for every business every organization, including schools," Zach Brandon, Madison Area Chamber of Commerce President, said.

Epic reversed course after an in-person work requirement came under fire, now saying employees will not be required to return to work if they don't feel their personal circumstances allow them to come back.

Brandon says many area businesses are now starting to unveil and launch plans to bring people back to working in person, and they've been helping them make sure to follow public health guidelines.

"A big part of what we've been working on is gaining clarity and getting solid and relevant communication out to businesses so that they know what to expect," he said.

One big strategy they've implemented is asking businesses to be transparent with their plans, sharing them with customers and other businesses.

"The idea was: things are built to be safe and plans are in place and you should ask companies, because they've done everything right and they should be proud of the work that they've done," Brandon said.

He says businesses have upped their cleaning strategies, upgraded air filtration systems and worked to use space better to keep people socially distant.

"When you think about the progress that we've made as a community and even though the virus is still present in our community and there's still community spread it's not spreading in places like offices," Brandon said.

Public Health Madison Dane County data shows less than three percent of the past month's new cases came from workplaces.

However this is before most businesses will start having people work in person.

"If they're certain they can do it in an effective and safe way we as the community should should be supporting them because this is how we keep our economy afloat," Brandon said.

According to PHMDC's most recent order that went in place a little less than a month ago, any businesses planning to reopen must facilitate remote work " to the greatest extent possible."

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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