Updated: May 07, 2020
As we’ve discussed previously, using a face mask/face covering protects others from the wearer’s respiratory droplets. As many infected individuals have been found to be asymptomatic, the practice of wearing a face mask/covering is highly encouraged (and mandated by some retailers and other businesses, in some places). We have updated our downloadable COVID-19 Resources with a new infographic/poster, “Why Wear Masks” that can be used to demonstrate the risk-reducing measures of masks.
the Food Industry
Dealing with the Phases of COVID-19
As states (and regions) move down their various paths to reopen, we are all faced with a new phase of decision-making. While there was much discomfort and change in the initial onset of COVID-19, this new phase finds individuals needing to make risk-based decisions that they’ve never been faced with previously. A vital part of managing risk is understanding that you have a risk. Thus, facility managers need to recognize the physical, mental, and emotional toll each phase may take on their employees (and on themselves).
Phase 1. While stay-at-home orders initially created a difficult transition, for many, “sheltering in place” gradually became somewhat normal. We felt safe in our homes and were sheltered from infection. While there were most definitely economic, emotional and a myriad of other blowback issues resulting from being required to stay sheltered, the risk decision potential was removed. Even essential food-industry workers (who while still needing to work were required to follow management-instituted policies at work) generally went directly between work and home, keeping risk at a minimum.
Phase 2. Now that stores are starting to open and requirements loosening, we have entered a new stage of uncertainty. People now must make decisions about the level of risk they are willing to take. It is a complex and stressful phase; we don’t really know what risk we face by moving forward, venturing into different stores or events. In many businesses, workers are now being given choices – to come back in or to continue to shelter and use personal time off or unemployment; to continue working from home or to return to their desks. Facility managers must recognize and address the fear factor and the risk-based decisions people are being forced to make through open and honest communications and understanding.
Phase 3. On a positive note: We will get through this. We are in this together. While we may not go back to the pre-COVID world, we will be in a new world with a new norm of comfort. We don’t know exactly when or what that will be, but it will get here – one way or another.
If you need assistance adapting to whichever phase your business is in, give TAG a call. We have an experienced team of public health and food safety experts to help you.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of this poster (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese - simplified, traditional are available).
As of May 07, 2020 (14:50 ET), there are over 3,800,000 cases (>266,000 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
Keep up to date with COVID-19:
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