This is a guide for business continuity and preparedness in response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The guide is based on the current known information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additional information will be updated by the CDC as it becomes available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a series of recommendations for businesses and employers to guide them in preparing for what they see as an inevitable outbreak in coronavirus cases throughout the US. The CDC as well as other Federal agencies have predicted major impacts on industry and supply chains, and it is encouraged for all employers to educate themselves and their employees on best practices and business continuity preparedness.
Despite the growing concern for the virus, please refrain from inciting panic or instigating discrimination in the workplace. There has been a sharp rise in discrimination and racial prejudice since the increase in confirmed cases, especially in China. It is your responsibility as an employer to prevent discrimination and stigma in the workplace, and to avoid making any determination of risk based on race or country of origin. It is critical to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19 to protect employee privacy and safety as required by the ADA. Please refer to your local and state regulations more information regarding employee privacy and best practices.
Preventing Workplace Exposure:
- Actively encourage employees with symptoms to stay home and recover. Consider waiving the requirement of a health care provider’s note to “validate” the illness before taking time off.
- Evaluate your sick leave policies to give flexibility to work from home if possible.
- Promote and establish clear hygiene etiquette and habits, especially concerning coughing and sneezing. Instruct employees to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use a sanitizer. Consider placing hand sanitizer throughout the office and maintain an adequate supply of tissues and sanitary wipes in the common areas.
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs.
- If employees are traveling for work purposes, coach your employees on hygiene tips or refer to the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidelines and recommendations.
- Encourage employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 to notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidelines on how to conduct a risk assessment for their own potential exposure.
Planning Considerations for Business Continuity:
- Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness, dismissals of schools and daycares, and caring for family members.
- Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace can operate even if the key staff members are absent.
- Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations.
- When developing your business response plan, ensure the plan is flexible and allows for discussion and employee comment.
- Identify potential roles or employees who are at the greatest risk of exposure and determine possible changes in the role to protect them from that risk.
- Keep a close eye on local, State or Federal recommendations or statements that provide further guidance on economic or supply chain impacts.
For more information or questions, contact The Integrated Group at 425-822-8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.