With the world of change that we have been afforded, it is very easy to feel inundated with information regarding COVID-19. Businesses are clamoring for data that is not only useful, but also valid and from a source they can trust. The CDC has released a document detailing information that will help you understand practical protocols when someone has tested positive or could be a potential carrier of the Coronavirus, and we have broken that document down for you.
We at The Orlando Law Group understand that each business is unique, and the handling of an office may differ than the response of a restaurant. A plan that involves CDC Guidelines is a perfect defensive strategy in terms of keeping your employees confident and safe, your customers comfortable with how you are reacting, and your liability very low. You may never be sued over someone catching COVID-19 at your establishment, but not following proper guidelines could land you in a world of social media slandering that you could have preemptively avoided if you had utilized these methods of protocol.
What qualifies as exposed to the virus?
We have all seen the social media posts or heard whispers from our “In the know” neighbors saying, “Did you know someone tested positive at that location.” CDC guidelines state that persons deemed “exposed” are those who have been within 6 feet of a Positive Covid-19 person for more than 15 minutes.
What happens if an employee has been exposed to COVID-19?
If an employee has been in direct contact with a Positive COVID-19 employee, but is asymptomatic and has not been tested, they will need to quarantine from the date of exposure for 10 days. If symptoms appear within 10 days of isolation, a symptom-based strategy will implore an employee to not report back to work unless they are asymptomatic and without medication for symptoms.
What if an employee tests positive?
If an employee does test positive, then that employee will need to quarantine for ten days from the date of their positive test. After this, they will need to show that they have recovered fully from the effects of the virus. The CDC recommends that businesses take action if an employee has tested positive. Shutting down indefinitely is the last option you want to take, but there are many precautionary steps you can achieve that will put your customers at ease. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee went home, it is a good idea to close off any areas or stations where that employee might have spent a prolonged period of time working at. That employee should not return to work until they are in full recovery.
What defines recovery from the coronavirus?
In order to show recovery from the coronavirus, the employee will need to retest two more times, greater than or equal to 24 hours apart, in order to show that they have received two tests that were negative before returning to work. At least three days need to have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms. One important aspect to remember is that, if an employee has visited a physician for care, the physician’s requirements supersedes the CDC guidelines.
What actions should you take to disinfect the store?
The CDC recommends waiting 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. This will minimize other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. It is the best practice to open doors to the outside in order to allow as much air flow as possible during this 24-hour waiting period. If 7 days have passed since the employee that is sick has worked there, additional cleaning is not necessary outside of the usual routine process of cleaning and disinfecting of all high-touch surfaces in the facility.
What is the proper way for our business to fully disinfect?
It is very important to clean surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting them. When disinfecting surfaces, the CDC recommends using products that meet the EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Make sure to wear gloves and gowns that will protect you while you use these chemicals to clean. If you want to make the cleaning process more thorough, the CDC recommends hiring a cleaning company. Reach out to us on our Facebook, and we can recommend the one that we used.
Requiring current employees to get tested for COVID-19
Subject to the rules of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state laws, requiring someone to get tested for the coronavirus is not in accordance with the law unless a manager must do so to preserve the safety of the workplace as well as the ability for that employee to perform their job. The EEOC has recently detailed that those with the virus, “will pose a direct threat of others.” When deciding to test, the CDC recommends using a resource that is accurate and reliable by checking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other public health authority websites for the latest information, including their own.
Should we close the Business?
The CDC has made it up to the store’s discretion as to whether they should close. We are certain that businesses will work hard to maintain safety protocols and keep their facilities clean. It is very important to remember that, beyond anything else, you are not alone in this. With change always comes discomfort, and it is going to take a long time to adjust to the differences of these new conditions. When the world changes, we must change with it.
The Orlando law Group is here for you. We take each conversation, each client, and each situation as they are presented to us. If you are looking for updates on COVID-19, make sure to check out our Coronavirus Legal Update Panel. We know that no two circumstances are exactly alike, and there may still be lingering questions you want answered. We will figure this out together one day at a time, doing the best we can for those we care about.
Stay focused, stay safe, and if you ever have questions, The Orlando Law Group is here to help. Never hesitate to reach out to us.