What You Should Know About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is front and center on every major news outlet in the country. But how does COVID-19 impact you?
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
According to the CDC, the COVID-19 outbreak started in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified in a growing number of other locations internationally, including the United States. On Monday, March 9, 2020, it was announced that there are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
To better understand how to protect your business and employees, it is important to understand how COVID-19 spreads. According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads mainly from person-to-person, i.e., between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 can also spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. The CDC noted that the virus seems to be spreading easily and sustainably within affected communities, consistent with a “community spread” pattern.
How Does COVID-19 Impact Business?
COVID-19 is an international concern, prompting a change in the day-to-day lives of many people throughout the world. When considering how businesses should respond to this growing concern, consider the following practices:
Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
Employers should advise sick employees to stay at home if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The symptoms of COVID-19 are remarkably similar to that of influenza: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC recommends that people exhibiting symptoms stay home except to get medical care. It is not easy to distinguish the symptoms of the flu from COVID-19, and the testing for COVID-19 is not yet streamlined. To protect other employees and your business, it is important to allow sick employees to remain at home. This can impact your employee leave policies, as well as federal and Ohio statutory protections regarding leave.
Emphasize Good Hygiene
COVID-19 is spread through person-to-person contact. Therefore, good hygiene is especially important to prevent the spread of the virus. Encourage employees to do the following:
Perform Additional Cleaning
If you have a service that regularly cleans the workspaces in your business, check with them to see what additional disinfecting services they are providing in the wake of COVID-19. If you have in-house employees who clean the workspaces in your business, make your cleanliness expectations clear and consider additional cleaning precautions.
Suspend Travel and Networking Activities
COVID-19 is spread in a “community spread” pattern. Limiting person-to-person contact and travel are preventative measures that the CDC is recommending at this time. Person-to-person contact should be limited to that contact which is absolutely necessary. Employers should reconsider any business activities involving travel or networking events with high volumes of people to protect employees.
The Employment Attorneys at Cavitch are monitoring COVID-19 developments closely and are here to advise you regarding the impact on your business. If you have questions, call (216) 621-7860 to speak with an employment attorney.
For More Information on COVID-19:
Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Cuyahoga County Board of Health