Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus, which has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including in the United States.
COVID-19 has become a serious issue for all employers. Stokes Wagner has prepared the following best practices for you to consider in your business.
Companywide Communications: The seriousness of COVID-19 should be acknowledged in a companywide email. Include access to resources such as the CDC and the WHO. It is essential this message reach all employees – even those without email. Managers should spread this message during work shifts.
Communications with Employees, Guests, and Customers: Remind guests/customers of good personal hygiene practices. The World Health Organization has a great resource here. Also, consider reminding people of the following:
- Use verbal salutations.
- Do not share utensils, cups, or linens.
- Keep a distance of 6 feet from people you do not know in public areas when possible.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be readily available for use. Provide masks and gloves to all cleaning employees.
- Make sure all restrooms are stocked and can support frequent handwashing.
- Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces regularly (i.e., cleaning and disinfecting public restrooms, elevator buttons, front desk areas, and door handles hourly).
Employee Issues: Employees should be encouraged to stay home even if mildly ill. Now is the time to review your paid sick leave, vacation, or PTO policies. If an employee is sent home due to sickness during a shift, remember any applicable reporting time pay rules. Employees should be encouraged to alert management of any guest/customer who exhibits flu-like symptoms. Employers must prepare managers on how to handle these conversations with employees/guests/customers.
As COVID-19 continues to change and evolve every day, employers should stay apprised of all updates from the CDC and WHO.