Reopening Dilemma 

How do corporations get people to the 100th floor or even the 10th floor of a crowded building?

Texas tried reopening offices early. Now there is a surge and corporations don't know how to deal with it.

Some companies brought back office workers in May or early June only to face coronavirus outbreaks within days or weeks. Others still can’t figure out how to send people up a 50-story skyscraper. Chevron says limiting riders on some elevators would create dangerous crowding in lobbies, so the company is telling its masked workers to refrain from speaking on the ride up.

Refilling Chevron Corp.’s two high-rise office towers in downtown Houston is a daunting task. Of 7,000 workers, roughly 350 are back, says Dave Payne, the company’s vice president of health, environment and safety. The company has parking spaces for less than a third of its employees. Previously, thousands had counted on van pools and public buses, which are currently deemed too risky. When arriving, employees must undergo a thermal imaging scan before entering the building.

Group 1 Automotive Inc., one of the nation’s largest publicly traded car dealership chains, kept its Houston headquarters open for a small number of employees until mid-June, when an employee contracted the virus, said Frank Grese, senior vice president of human resources.

After the positive Covid test, Group 1 shut its headquarters for two weeks as a precaution. It reopens Monday on a restricted basis, with employees only coming in when absolutely necessary and returning to remote work as quickly as possible, Mr. Grese says. Wearing a mask will be required and the building won’t have more than 15% of the employees who usually work there.

What Are Corporations Supposed to Do?

It is easy for people to protest in the streets as happened in Michigan and other places with Trump egging them on.

But if corporations do not provide a safe work environment, they are subject to huge lawsuits. 

At a local level, a bar owner might decide "go to hell, this is my business" but one disgruntled customer who ends up with a $100,000 hospital bill and files suit could mean the end of that business.

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