Plan, Prepare and Respond to COVID-19
Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers should prepare to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community. It is strongly encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials so timely and accurate information can guide the appropriate responses. Employers can consider how to best lower the spread of COVID-19 in their workplace by reducing transmission among employees, maintain healthy business operations and a healthy work environment.
Reducing the Transmission Among Employees
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Any employees showing symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath should notify their supervisor and stay home.
- Sick employees should follow the CDC recommended steps, including but not limited to:
- Staying home
- Take care of yourself
- Stay in touch with your doctor
- Avoid public transportation
- Stay in a specific room, separating yourself form people and pets as much as possible.
- Monitor your symptoms
- Cleaning high-touch areas
- Wearing a mask and washing hands
- Employees who have been home isolated can stop home isolation once they have met the following conditions:
- Gone without a fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
- Other symptoms such as coughing, and shortness of breath have improved
- At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
- Employees who are well but have a sick family or friend should also take caution and notify their supervisor
- Identify where and how employees might be exposed to COVID-19 at work
- Be aware that some individuals may be at a higher risk for serious illness, such as older employees and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact or assign work tasks that always allow them to remain six feet apart from others.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform their co-workers of their possible exposure in the workplace. However, confidentiality is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Educate employees on how they can do their part in reducing the spread of COVID-19
Maintain Healthy Business Operations
- Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact on the workplace.
- Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices, such as:
- Policies to permit employees to stay home with a sick family member or care for a child due to school and childcare closures.
- Draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies for those that do not offer sick leave to some or all their employees
- Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.
- Assess your essential Functions and the reliance that others have on your services or products
- Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations
- Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services
- Communicate your response plan with business partners
- Determine how your will operation if absenteeism spikes
- Establish policies and practices for social distancing
Maintain a Healthy Work Environment
- Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include increases ventilation rates and the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
- Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers and work site visitors.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of the workplace and frequently touches surfaces.
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection should be performed after a person suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in the facility.
- Advise employees before traveling or holding meetings/gatherings to take additional preparations.