WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As the economy gradually begins to reopen, companies are likely going to make adjustments to keep customers and workers safe.
CEOs of America’s biggest companies met with President Donald Trump Friday afternoon to discuss what reopening will look like.
“We need to get to the point where we’re all confident people can maintain their health,” said Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines.
Kelly took part in a roundtable of business leaders meeting with President Trump Friday.
“We put a man on the moon fifty years ago, we will defeat the virus and get back to normal. The question is, is it in a year, three years, five years,” Kelly said.
Kelly says Southwest made temporary adjustments, from taking passengers’ temperatures to new cleaning methods on planes.
As these business leaders meet with the president, they’ll be discussing not only changes they’ve made, but how some of them may be permanent.
“We’re learning, but we’re adapting,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said.
Scalia says as rising unemployment levels off, his department will focus on helping employers create safe conditions for workers.
“We want to help them do that, we’re putting out guidelines to help them do that,” he said.
But Scalia stopped short of making safety precautions mandatory.
“That’s not something we felt was necessary,” he said.
But Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) says the White House and Congress should mandate safe conditions.
“Employers need to do the responsible thing and provide proper equipment,” Rep. Sanchez said.
She doesn’t think businesses who are negligent about safety should be protected from employee lawsuits.
“We’re saying they’re essential, yet we don’t want to provide any kind of responsibility,” the Congresswoman said.
It’s an issue Congress will likely take up in the next stimulus package.