Updated: April 03, 2020
Currently, “close contact” is referred to as someone who has been within 6 feet (2 meters) for a prolonged period of time. Time recommendations for “prolonged period of time” vary between 10 minutes – 30 minutes (to “or more”). This makes the time limit of “close contact” a little subjective. How do you calculate this for yourself and your operation?
TAG has operated with 15 minutes. We do not recommend any time limit greater than 15 minutes. 15 minutes has been echoed by other organizations, including the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and reflects existing research about risk levels.
To determine a “close contact” time, it is important for everyone to observe and be aware of the time/space of those with whom they work closely (6 feet or 2 meters), take breaks, and/or sit. It is best to be aware of the time that is being spent in close contact with others, limiting that time and maintaining social distance whenever possible. Also, it is important to wash hands properly and frequently and avoid touching the face.
the Food Industry
COVID-19 Employee Incentivization, Safety & Communication.
As a food business, you are part of a critical infrastructure industry. This means that you, and your employees need to conduct operations to maintain the food supply (just as you did before the onset of COVID-19). This also means that while many of your employees’ families are staying home to shelter-in-place, your employees continue to maintain their standard workdays. Despite continuing to receive a paycheck, some employees might feel that they are being put in the “line of fire” without any additional incentives.
As the outbreak continues, COVID-19 absenteeism will rise with increasing hot spots (see below or TAG's Daily Outbreak Tracking). How can you keep uninfected employees satisfied and on the job? What are other companies doing in this space to incentivize coming to work? Today, we discuss three primary best practices companies are implementing: financial incentives, “safety” controls, and communication.
Financial incentivization, although it may be the simplest solution, it may not be feasible. Despite this, some companies in both processing and retail have temporarily increased the pay for hourly workers who must come in. Many are also adding sick pay policies for workers who had previously not had the benefit. Realizing that workers are under higher stress – and potential for coronavirus infection – than those staying at home, businesses are seeking to provide some increased financial security for their workers.
Preventive safety controls, while slightly more difficult to implement, are even more essential to protecting employees necessary to the workplace. Key safety control points include: increased sanitation, worker wellness checks, keeping ill employees at home, separating workers who become ill during the day, staggering shift changes, and business-focused social distancing. (See TAG’s COVID-ID FAQ page for more information on each of these.) Some businesses are also erecting temporary barriers around workers where possible (e.g., retail cashiers, line workers, etc.), particularly where the six-foot physical distancing is not possible.
While financial incentives may help ease worker stress, and safety controls can reduce spread, communicating with your workers about your intent and actions will build rapport and help acknowledge not only that they are safer, but also that they feel safer. Creating a space of open communication can go a long way towards reducing absenteeism, and limit potential “walking off the job”. Explain your COVID-19 practices and policies to your workers; let them know the steps you have taken – along with why they were taken and how these steps are intended to help. Ensure employees know they will be covered if they do become infected. Most importantly, create dialogue with your employees by being open-minded and listening to their fears and concerns so you can appropriately address them.
The COVID-19 outbreak has made several other communications just as critical, including informing employees and/or customers of a COVID-19 case in the workforce, general customer communication on preparedness, required reporting of a COVID-19 case, etc. As a part of its COVID-19 Toolkit, TAG has developed templates for each of these and other such communications. For more information, call TAG at 1-800-401-2239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone should practice social distancing (more specifically, physical distancing), not only those who are ill or at higher-risk (e.g. older individuals, pre-existing conditions) but also among healthy individuals so we may "flatten the curve".
Please feel free to use this free poster at your establishment. Please email us (email@example.com) for a copy of this poster (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese - simplified, traditional are available).
As of April 03, 2020 (12:20 ET), there are over 1 million cases (>55,000 deaths) worldwide
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focusing on the United States. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
Using per capita data from CNN's ongoing live coverage of COVID-19 tracking in the U.S., TAG has collated this information as part of our daily updates to look at the current rate of illness (per 100,000 people) in each state and territories throughout the United States. Both rate of change and density of illness contribute to the risk profile of an area – and the businesses within it. You can find our updates below (retrieved April 03, 08:37 ET).
Keep up to date with COVID-19:
Please send us any questions, comments, and/or concerns! We are happy to talk with you.
OR call us at 1-800-401-2239
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