CEO of company reopening in Rochester: 'We got to live with this'

Berkeley Brean
Updated: May 16, 2020 05:27 PM
Created: May 15, 2020 06:13 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We have to learn how to do things differently now. 

One firm that was allowed to reopen Friday is redesigning its workspace to make it safer for its employees when they return Monday. They want to use the same skill to help schools open next fall. News10NBC was the only station allowed inside their building. 


We take you inside CPL Architecture on St. Paul Street in Rochester. Interior designer Susan Clark is putting up signs reminding staff to clean whatever they touch. 

"We're designers architects, engineers," she said. "So this is our world."

They've reconfigured their office to make it safer for employees and they mapped it out. The green dots on their office blueprint mean high-density areas. So they're going to remove some cubicles islands. They've designated staircases to go up and down and red lines on the map show staff which way they should walk. 

"So I'm walking now in the clockwise position," Clark said showing the one-way direction on the firm's fourth floor. 

The idea is to maintain a safe distance and avoid passing someone in the hallway. 

"It's hard to believe we started this two months ago," CEO Todd Liebert said. 

His clients include hospitals and schools and he says they're offering to help come up with the same designs inside classrooms. 

"If you have a class of 20 can you socially distance with 20? Probably not," Liebert said. "So we're going to be working with their systems to try to be able to reopen in the fall."

CPL has offices in five states including the Carolinas, Georgia and Pennsylvania. 

Liebert says he had a zoom call with more than 350 employees yesterday. 

Brean: "What was the number one question you got from your staff?"

Todd Liebert, CEO, CPL Architecture, Planning: "Facial coverings. Masks. Are we going to require masks."

He says the answer is yes if you're outside your office. 

Friday I was with the crew at Rochester Bath and Kitchen in East Rochester working for the first time in two months, filling trucks for jobs inside people's home Monday. 

I was with an electric company opening a pool in a back yard in Webster.

Ken Kinney, Kinney Electric: "Today is a good day for all of us mentally and physically that we are getting out to finally work."

CPL was deemed an essential service but kept its employees working at home. Liebert says they'll have a gradual return over the next two weeks. 

"That's what I told everybody — we got to live with this. It's around for a while," he said. "So let's be respectful."

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