COVID-19 Resources

Due to the high number of inquiries received and the continuous developments regarding the virus, TAG is offering COVID-19 Retainer Packages to businesses concerned with the impact of this outbreak.

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For the food industry

  • Regular Updates

  • Advice for Food Industry

  • What can you (we) all do?

Key Points

Updated: August 21, 2020

Recommendations for Industry

Reasonable Accommodations for Workers Unable to Wear Masks

Q. We have some workers with breathing difficulties, such as asthma, who have stated they are unable to wear masks. We know that the safest strategy is for all to wear a mask, but would you have any advice or industry best practices for providing accommodation for employees whose health conditions prohibit them from wearing one?

A. Although we have not seen any advice from the ADA on this, CDC provides a list of adaptations and alternatives to be considered to increase the feasibility of wearing a mask. But if these are still not applicable, TAG recommends the following which have been implemented by some food companies:

  • Before conceding to a request, companies with a mandatory mask policy should consider asking the individual to get a medical assessment, showing proof of the condition that prohibits the wearing of masks. While it may seem excessive in some cases, requesting validation from an independent health professional helps ensure that those who just don’t want to wear one won’t be able to exploit an accommodation without a valid medical reason.

  • For those with the validation, a face shield can be an option; but you will need to include a disclaimer that it’s not as effective as a face mask that covers the nose and mouth.

  • You can also consider changing the worker’s responsibilities to enable them to work in a more isolated environment that allows for further distancing from others. One large food company was able to retain all its workers by moving people off the line to different parts of the business – such as driving a forklift

  • For other options, TAG advises that you work with your HR team, legal team, union representative, and consult EEOC guidance, etc. to provide reasonable accommodations as set by the CDC Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO).

Also remember that masks are only one part of a multi-step process (see Risk Mitigation Hierarchy) to keep oneself and others safe.

Outbreak Updates

As of August 19, 2020 (11:14 ET), there are over 22,726,000 cases (>794,000 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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