Top Tips 2020: 5 Tips on Keeping Your Staff Safe and Healthy and Your Doors Open
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that many businesses operate. Workplaces in our community have implemented the precautions required in order to get back to business, like masking and occupancy limits. However, many of these businesses have still experienced the spread COVID-19 within their workplaces. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is encouraging businesses to adopt policies and implement strategies in their workplaces that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help businesses keep their doors open.
Here are some tips on how to create a safe and healthy environment:
- Opt for gratitude and an educational approach to masking. Face masks are an important tool for fighting the spread of COVID-19, which is why the City of Springfield has extended the city ordinance requiring the use of facial coverings in places of public accommodation. Many businesses are unsure of what to do when customers are unwilling to wear their face mask properly, or at all. We encourage businesses to go beyond simply reminding people that masks are required. Focus on those who are following the ordinance and express gratitude. No one enjoys wearing face masks, so a simple thank you could encourage people to continue wearing theirs to protect those around them.
For those who are not wearing them despite signs and reminders, start with the why! Most likely, they already know that it is required, so tell them why it is important to you, the business, that they comply. Stylist in a salon? Explain to them that if you get sick you won’t be able to see customers for two weeks. Managing a retail store? If a staff member gets sick and exposes their coworkers, you may not be able to stay open.
- Get familiar with when quarantine is required and how to avoid it. Many people are unaware of the circumstances that cause someone to need to quarantine. If someone has close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, they are asked to quarantine. Close contact is spending fifteen cumulative minutes or more within six feet of an infectious person, or any physical contact for any length of time. Close contact can occur anytime in the 48 hours before the COVID-19 positive individual begins showing symptoms.
It’s important to know that while masking will help reduce the spread, it is not a substitute for physical distancing and will not prevent quarantine. The best way to prevent quarantining for fourteen days is to practice good physical distancing. For businesses this means having policies and procedures that require employees to distance from each other whenever possible, especially on breaks or lunch.
- One size does not fit all, so develop an individualized approach for your business. Every workplace is different. A laundry list of prevention techniques won’t cut it for some. For instance, physical distancing may not be possible in the kitchen of a restaurant or the cab of a truck. This is where you must get creative, and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is here to help! Our Outreach Team is here to talk through any difficulties you may be having and help find solutions before or after you have a COVID-19 exposure in your workplace. Will every solution be perfect? No, but we can work to reduce the opportunities for the spread of the virus and reduce the chances of there being disruptions to your business.
- Have written policies for COVID-19. These strategies are only good if they are implemented and followed. COVID-19 has changed the way we operate, so let’s write those changes down and make sure they are understood. Writing up an addendum to your existing employee policies or handbook will ensure that every staff member has access to the most up to date guidance. Post them up in the break room, by the time clock, or near the employee entrance. Do regular reminders and refreshers at staff meetings. Empower employees to hold each other accountable.
- Utilize the COVID-19 Toolkit for Businesses & Workplaces. Much of the information provided is included in the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s workplace toolkit. It includes prevention and response procedures, answers to frequently asked questions, sample policies, logs and printable signs. These resources will equip employers with the tools and information they need to protect their employees, customers and businesses. Once you’ve reviewed that information, our Outreach Team can help provide more individualized guidance to help strengthen your business’s organizational COVID-19 prevention and response policies.
For more information and for the latest updates, visit health.springfieldmo.gov/business.
Interested in help developing a plan for your business or organization to protect the health and well-being of employees? Email Aaron Schekorra at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (417) 512-6011.