The number of positive California cases of COVID-19 is on the rise. Because this is a rapidly changing scenario it is highly recommended that you take precautions today to help prevent spread in the workplace.
What we know today:
Epidemiologists agree on two characteristics of COVID-19:
- The virus is highly transmissible
- The virus disproportionately affects older people with underlying conditions
However, because of the fluidity of the situation no one knows today the economic short term or long-term effects of this outbreak. As a business owner and community leader it is important for you to keep healthy, keep your staff informed and provide your county officials with data on any adverse effects this situation has on your business.
First and foremost, it is critical that businesses stay informed and understand the facts. Again, all official public health information can be found here.
How to Prepare Your Business During COVID-19
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Employees with a fever or who show symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay home.
- Don't require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness.
- Encourage employees to protect themselves:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
Ensure your sick leave policies are up to date.
- Understand California’s Paid sick leave
- Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for themselves or a sick family member.
- Review policies to ensure your sick leave policies and practices are consistent with public health guidance.
- Explore whether you can establish policies and practices like flexible worksites (telecommuting) and flexible work hours to distance employees.
- Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners.
Prepare for increased absences.
- Monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.
- Implement plans to continue essential business functions in the event you experience high levels of absent employees.
- Consider work from home options. If possible consider giving workers laptops to work from home.
- Utilize online conference tools like Zoom, Webex, GoToMeetings to keep continuity with teams and with clients
- Cross-train staff to perform essential functions so your business can operate even if key staff members are absent.
- Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
- Consider canceling non-essential business travel to other countries per CDC's travel guidance.
Notify employees of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, notify employees of their potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Make sure you maintain confidentiality, as required by the Americans with Disability Act.
Local Business Resources
| West Business Development Center: Your local non profit resource center available to assist your business
with free counseling on all topics relating to your business growth and prosperity. See complete
corona virus support at www.westcenter.org/covid-19-business-resources
| EDFC: Provides loan funding through federal government sources including low interest resiliency loans
|| Workforce Alliance of the North Bay: Network of career centers, employment and training initiatives, that
result in a regional talent pool to drive economic growth for workers and career seekers in the North Bay.
State Business Resources
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, and help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19. The emergency proclamation includes provisions that protect consumers against price gouging, allow for health care workers to come from out of state to assist at health care facilities, and give health care facilities the flexibility to plan and adapt to accommodate incoming patients. A copy of the emergency proclamation can be found here.
California Support for Business Owners Impacted by COVID-19
- Information on business assistance for resilience can be found on GO-Biz’s website here.
- UI Work Sharing Program is available for employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs.
- Access to capital programs remain in place, including special disaster assistance at the state and federal levels.
California Support for Workers Impacted by COVID-19
- Paid Family Leave provides up to eight weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for
an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) Employees may file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.
Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.
- Resources for Employers and Workers Small business employers can access support for t their employees with these helpful resources.