Businesses would like to return to business as usual and government officials reliant on taxes desperately need a return to normal. The people arguing lockdowns need to occur indefinitely live on Twitter.

How can it be done safely?

The example of Bombardier Aviation in an analysis published in Canadian Medical Association Journal finds that creating "work bubbles" during the COVID-19 pandemic can help reduce the risk of company-wide outbreaks while helping essential businesses continue to function.

Bombardier Aviation employs 22,000 people at 7 factories across four locations in Canada and the United States.  When the pandemic hit, most office staff worked from home, ensuring that only employees who built or supported aircraft delivery were on site. Essential employees were organized into cohorts that interacted only with each other to minimize contact with other staff. 

Cohorts were organized on the principles that work bubbles should :

Include the least number of people required to do the job

Be designed to allow business continuation if another work bubble is removed from the workforce

Be strictly separated from other bubbles in time and/or space to prevent virus transmission between groups.

Scheduling rotating workdays and disinfecting shared spaces after use by a work bubble can ensure physical separation of employees. Daily symptom screening and rapid isolation of infected employees is also key to containing and preventing outbreaks.

Despite some challenges, work bubbles offer benefits including :

Reducing the reproduction number of the disease

Increasing efficiency of contact tracing

Protecting employees from contracting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at work

Increasing employee confidence in workplace safety

Allowing for business to continue in the case of positive cases