Amid the cancellation of public events, concerts and a variety of other gatherings due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many companies are in the process of considering what the implications are for their employees and businesses.
Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in 100 countries. There have been 938 cases reported in the U.S. in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
The Center for Disease Control is offering Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, which includes strategies such as cleaning your workspace regularly and staying home when sick. The statement also includes information on preparing a response plan should COVID-19 pose an immediate risk to your community.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals’ (NALP) website now features a link for guidance on dealing with the coronavirus.
• Compliance with all federal, state and local advisories; • Monitoring the health of employees; • Encouraging sick employees to stay home; and • Asking employees to notify supervisors if they have had contact with someone who has contracted COVID-19.
NALP has also decided to cancel the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, which was scheduled for March 18-21 at Michigan State University.
How are some companies dealing with the concern with their employees?
“We haven’t seen an immediate impact but rather, lots of questions,” said Paul Fraynd, CEO and partner at Sun Valley Landscaping in Omaha, Neb. “We believe it is part of our role as leaders to ensure our staff has timely and factual information, not just what they read on their newsfeed.”
Sun Valley has discussed strategies in its leadership meetings, emailed a list of preventive practices to employees and offered additional information in company safety meetings.
Fraynd says that he has contacted the company’s insurance professionals about the company’s business income insurance coverage and discussed some worst-case scenarios in case Sun Valley has staff that become ill or are required to self-quarantine.
The company is allowing office staff to work from home and is encouraging its sales team to implement a no-handshake policy when out meeting with clients.
“For now, we are encouraging everyone to stay mindful and healthy,” he said. “In a pinch, we will have to look for additional staff or subcontractors if our staff members can’t come to work.”
Marty Grunder, CEO of Grunder Landscaping in Dayton, Ohio, is carefully monitoring reports from health officials and is in close communication with his attorney and insurance professional.
“We’re relying on our governor and health experts to direct us as to what to do,” he said. “We’re trying to remain calm and deal with facts and be as proactive as we can. In times like this, we rely on other experts to help us and share as much logical and practical information as we can with our team.”
For additional information on COVID-19 and how you can communicate preventive measures to your employees, visit CDC.com.
Real Green Systems will also be hosting a learning webinar to help businesses prepare on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at 3:00 PM EST.
Real Green Vice President of Business Development Beth Barry and President and CEO Bill Nunan will share tactical preparations already in progress at Real Green to protect both its employees and customers’ businesses. They will also review workplace disease prevention tips, key customer communication tactics and an overview of how integrated technologies can minimize the impact of a disruptive event.