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Recovery Updates and Reopening Businesses Safely with Covid-19 Testing

Photo: Julienne Schaer

As restrictions continue to ease in New York State, businesses and organizations are reviewing their reopening plans to ensure a safe rollout. Whether you’re a small business or operate large-scale gatherings such as concerts, sporting events or conferences, testing can serve as an integral part of reopening best practices. For instance, Quest Diagnostics, a leading clinical laboratory in the healthcare space, has introduced its Covid-19 antigen test that makes testing quick, easy and safe. Read on to learn about testing options and to review the important reopening updates impacting businesses this summer. 

Reopening Updates and What They Mean for Your Business

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s May 19 reopening marked a major milestone in New York State’s Covid-19 relief efforts. Occupancy restrictions are now limited only by the space required for customers to practice social distancing. This applies to most businesses, including retailers, restaurants and personal care businesses like gyms and hair and nail salons, to name a few. 

Event venues with maximum capacities of 250 people indoors or 500 outdoors can adhere to the CDC’s new masking guidelines, which states that fully vaccinated people are not required to wear masks, though are encouraged to in some settings and may be required should a business request it. The guidelines recommend that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear masks. Furthermore, the NYS Department of Health advises that people continue to wear masks in indoor settings, as the vaccination status of others is unknown.  

For businesses that operate indoor arenas, a 30 percent capacity rate is permitted (33 percent for outdoor arenas and performing arts venues). Individuals are required to wear masks indoors in addition to proving they have tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of the event. 

Capacity guidelines for larger-scale event venues are now limited only by the space required to maintain social distancing. Designated sections are required for unvaccinated individuals and for those whose status is unknown. For indoor events, the use of masks is mandatory unless patrons are seated and dining.  

Most Broadway shows will reopen at 100 percent capacity on September 14. Be sure to visit our Covid-19 resource page for the latest updates. 

Rapid Antigen Testing for a Safer Reopening 

Although the CDC’s new guidelines allow for fully vaccinated individuals to cease mask use in many settings, the Department of Health strongly recommends continued use and social distancing in indoor environments as vaccinations are still rolling out across New York State and the vaccination status of others is unknown.  

These guidelines have implications for many businesses, particularly those that host events, such as concerts, sports and conferences, and that are required to verify the vaccination status of individuals. For instance, indoor arenas require fans to test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of an event; small event venues require attendees in a group to social distance unless they can all present proof of vaccination.

To facilitate compliance with the new guidelines in a quick, easy manner, businesses can include on-site Covid-19 antigen testing as part of their reopening efforts. Unlike lab-based molecular testing that has longer turnaround times, antigen tests are rapid and easily implemented on-site. One such test is the Covid-19 antigen test by Quest Diagnostics, a leading clinical laboratory with over 35 million molecular tests and 4.5 million antibody tests performed to date. 

The Quest Diagnostics Covid-19 rapid antigen test uses observed self-collection nasal swabs with point-of-care results available in 15 to 30 minutes, and individuals can conveniently access test results through the MyQuest®, Excelsior and Health Pass app. 
 
Rapid antigen and molecular testing are fast, easily accessible and available at no out-of-pocket cost even for asymptomatic purposes like travel and large gatherings.

Collaborating with Quest Diagnostics for Your Recovery Plan

While on-site antigen testing makes it easier and faster to test large groups of people, every business has its unique reopening needs. Working  with a trusted health services provider, like Quest Diagnostics, means having access to a range of testing options and services tailored to your business’s needs. 

Quest Diagnostics offers both standardized and customized testing programs and can manage services from beginning to end to simplify implementation. In addition to on-site antigen testing, Quest Diagnostics offers consultations with in-house specialists to help your business optimize testing as it relates to your reopening plans, offer promotional support to engage attendees, conduct public health reporting for community surveillance and more. 

To learn more about how Quest Diagnostics can assist your business with reopening and keep your customers safe, visit QuestNYForward.com and contact a sales representative.

By Sachin Bhola
 
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