As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, we have a heightened awareness at NEMRA of our responsibility to our employees and to our membership. We have three priorities guiding our decisions during this time of uncertainty: to keep our employees safe, to ensure service to our customers and partners, and to do our part in preventing the spread of the virus.
For the past year, we had implemented and are already adept at remote work and virtual collaboration and we are confident that you will continue to receive the same high level of availability, service and support from us that you’ve come to expect.
We also recognize we have a larger role to play in protecting our membership, and are doing our part to minimize any contribution to the spread of the virus. We have made the decision to cancel, and will be rescheduling meetings and educational sessions that were planned for April and May, as well as to pause any non-essential travel. These decisions were made out of deep concern for the health and well-being of our employees, our members and their families.
We have heard and noted that several manufacturers and distributors have taken similar measures and encourage you to seek further details regarding their expectations on sales calls, office visits, and participation in local events, if any.
Finally, given the fluid nature of these events, below is a list of considerations and resources that we have researched and pulled together for you.
- Talk with your staff. Reassure your team that you care about their health and safety. Let others know that you will be watching for recommendations from public health officials about whether you need to make any changes to how you do your work or deliver programs.
- Make telecommuting options available for as many employees as possible. For businesses in which telecommuting is not an option or for particular duties that cannot be performed remotely, follow proper steps above to limit close contact, and prevent the spread of disease.
- Urge employees to stay home if sick.
- Promote good hygiene (washing hands frequently, covering coughs, cleaning surfaces, etc.).
- Remind employees of your organization’s policies related to illness and sick leave, and be flexible with sick leave benefits for those who are ill or who are recommended to stay home because they are high risk.
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Be mindful that different members of your team may perceive the threat differently or have special concerns based on their life circumstances. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality regarding the health of specific employees.
Most importantly, stay informed
- Read, listen to, and watch the news, and regularly check reputable sources such as your states Department of Public Health and US CDC.
- Reference the World Health Organization’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.
- The CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease
- Visit OSHA’s information page on COVID-19.