City of Berkeley provides recommendations for local businesses to prepare for potential COVID-19 outbreak

Zainab Ali/File

Related Posts

In a Monday press release, the city of Berkeley provided potential COVID-19 — the new coronavirus — outbreak recommendations for businesses.

Individuals who own or run a business are advised to adopt policies and practices that support current public health recommendations. The press release added that businesses should plan ahead to take stricter measures when risk levels increase and to follow the business preparedness recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

“If you own or run a business, now is the time to get ready for the impact of increased coronavirus spread within the Bay Area,” the press release reads.

The city is specifically recommending employees to stay at home if they are sick, emphasize the importance of healthy behaviors within the business, perform routine cleaning, prepare to support “social distancing” and to utilize the materials created by the CDC and the city that promote workplace healthy behaviors.

It is recommended to verbally remind employees, use all-staff memos and post signage in common areas to ensure all employees are aware that they should not be coming to work when ill, according to the press release.

Workplace policies that are noted in the press release are to send sick employees home immediately, adopt nonpunitive sick leave policies so employees don’t have incentives to come to work sick and to not require a doctor’s note when employees stay home, as health care providers may not be able to provide documentation in a timely manner due to the increased spread of COVID-19.

Individuals who have been sick previously should not come to work unless their symptoms and fever have been cleared for at least 24 hours.

The city also advises that in the event of an outbreak, plans should be put in place to support operations during periods of high absenteeism, as a large number of employees could potentially be out sick for an extended period of time and be needed at home to care of sick families.

Healthy behaviors that are stressed in the press release are to wash hands often, avoid touching faces, cover coughs with a tissue or elbow and promptly dispose of tissues, avoid close contact with individuals who are ill, sleep often and eat healthy food.

These behaviors are advised to be posted as signages within workplaces. It is also advised that businesses provide tissues, touchless disposal bins, disposable wipes, place alcohol-based hand sanitizers in common spaces and conference rooms and keep sink areas stocked with hand soap.

The press release also added that businesses should regularly clean their facilities, including common areas and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, tables and workstations with standard cleaning agents.

Business owners who think there has been potential exposure at their facilities should follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection.

Public health authorities are encouraging the implementation of “social distancing” measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. The city lists methods for increasing physical distance between employees, such as encouraging remote work, adopting staggered shifts and cross-training personnel.

Other potential guidance includes suspending nonessential travel and canceling large in-person meetings and conferences.

Check here for live updates here.

Thao Nguyen is a deputy news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tnguyen_dc.