Your Business and COVID-19

Your Business Response to COVID-19

Business owners are responsible for creating a safe and healthy work-place environment.  That is never more important than during an international health situation.  You set the tone for your business.  Your response during times of stress matters.

Workplace Safety

  1. Keep calm and communicate.  Your calm response and clear communication with employees, along with reasonable cleaning and safety precautions will go a long way towards alleviating anxiety and preventing panic.  Anticipate that there will be rumors, misinformation and fear.  Establish a clear communication plan with employees in response.  Many businesses will be required to close for a period of time.  Other businesses will move to a remote workforce model.  Continuing to communicate with your employees during this time is important.
    • Communicate your sick leave and return to work policy clearly
    • Communicate any changes that you have made, per state and national recommendations, with regard to your absentee policy
    • As time frames may change, continue to update your staff proactively
  2. Follow all instructions from state and local civil authorities
  3. If your business is still open:
    • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
    • Per the CDC Guidelines, do not require a healthcare providers note to validate illness or to return to work.  Healthcare staff may be extremely busy, causing paperwork delays
    • Practice social distancing within your business space.
    • Post reminders regarding hand washing, not touching your face, covering coughs and disinfecting work spaces frequently
    • Perform routine cleaning of all frequently touched services on a daily basis.  Pay particular attention to light switches, door knobs, break rooms, waiting rooms, phones, keyboards and other places that may be touched by multiple people on a regular basis.
    • Do not require employee travel during this time
    • Cancel any in-person group meetings or events.  As an alternative, reschedule meetings using an online meeting forum

Stay Up to Date

The coronavirus event is very fluid.  We want to make sure you get the help and answers that you need.  Remember that social media is not an accurate source of information.  Below are a list of resources from state and national officials, with links.  These websites are being updated daily with new information as it becomes available.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

New York Department of Health

New York Paid Sick Leave Bill for Quarantined Employees

Department of Labor Publication:  Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19


As always, if we at Emery & Webb can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  Stay safe and healthy!

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