It’s the vacation season, when the children arrive dwelling from faculty, the Griswolds take trip, and Santa Claus involves city. However for a lot of, probably the most fantastic time of the 12 months has turn into a trigger for concern. With COVID-19 circumstances on the rise and household gatherings inevitable, chances are you’ll be apprehensive the virus will unfold in your office quicker than vacation cheer. Don’t have a blue Christmas. As an alternative, plan now to maintain your office protected by revisiting your coronavirus insurance policies.
Evaluate Up to date CDC Pointers
Because the medical neighborhood learns extra about COVID-19, the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) continues to replace its steerage. For instance, the CDC lately expanded its definition of “shut contact” to incorporate extra transient encounters. Earlier than, “shut contact” was outlined as being inside six ft of a confirmed constructive coronavirus case for 15 consecutive minutes or extra. Now, it’s being outlined as being inside six ft of a confirmed constructive case for a complete of 15 minutes.
The CDC additionally shortened the really useful size of quarantine time after publicity. Till lately, the company suggested people in shut contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case to quarantine for 14 days. Although 14 days remains to be the gold commonplace, the company now says people who don’t develop signs might finish their quarantine after simply 10 days, and even seven days in the event that they take a look at destructive.
As well as, make sure to evaluation the most recent pointers issued by your state and native well being departments. If there are discrepancies between state, native, and federal COVID-19 pointers, discuss along with your lawyer about how finest to attenuate your danger of legal responsibility. Make sure that your office is following all relevant coronavirus security pointers, and replace your insurance policies accordingly.
Revisit Your Return-To-Work Coverage
Earlier than your staff head dwelling for the vacations, it’s a good suggestion to revisit your COVID-19 return-to-work coverage and remind them about their security obligations. At a minimal, it is best to advise them to:
- Do their half to assist stop the unfold of COVID-19 by frequent handwashing, social distancing, sporting a masks in public areas, and staying dwelling once they really feel sick;
- Self-check for COVID-19 signs, together with temperature taking, earlier than reporting to work every day, and report any coronavirus-like signs to their supervisor; and
- Comply with all relevant quarantine guidelines, particularly these concerning COVID-19 signs, exposures, and journey restrictions.
Additionally, it is best to determine earlier than the vacations methods to deal with out-of-state or worldwide journey. Journey restrictions fluctuate from state to state, and most worldwide locations are nonetheless topic to obligatory quarantines. Accordingly, some employers might want to restrict staff’ out-of-state journey; others might need to undertake a strict quarantine coverage after journey. If you wish to undertake a journey coverage, achieve this nicely earlier than the vacations and with the recommendation of counsel, and implement the foundations constantly.
When potential, telework is an efficient choice for workers after the vacation break, whether or not they have traveled or not. Giving them the pliability to earn a living from home for a couple of weeks after the vacations might reduce the danger of unfold within the office and assist your organization get off to a wholesome begin within the new 12 months.
Now could be the very best time to guard your staff from an elevated vacation unfold of COVID-19. Earlier than the hustle and bustle start, revisit your coronavirus security protocols and return-to-work insurance policies. Seek the advice of with counsel, replace your insurance policies as wanted, and inform staff about their obligations. Present telework and different versatile choices when potential. And have a protected and joyful vacation season.
Sarah Stula is an employment and litigation lawyer with the legislation agency Foulston Siefkin LLP in Kansas Metropolis, Kansas. She enjoys researching free-speech points and discussing politics whereas taking lengthy walks together with her goldendoodle. She might be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.