How your small business can minimize the impact of the coronavirus
COVID-19 is here. Granted pandemic status by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, denoting “uncontained global spread”, life with the coronavirus is a very real reality that we need to face.
Allow staff to work from home – or remotely
One of the surest ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to restrict the number of people in close proximity to one another. If you haven’t already, institute a work-from-home policy. Explain to clients that face-to-face meetings need to be conducted over Skype or Microsoft Teams (or a similar app).
Refer staff experiencing symptoms to the relevant medical bodies
If staff is complaining of headaches and fever, ensure they immediately self-isolate, then refer them to the relevant medical bodies. Symptoms typically begin to show themselves after five days of infection, so anyone who is displaying these warning signs might already have infected people they have come into contact with – but the least they can do is cut the risk of transmission off at its source.
Symptomless employees should still be expected to work
Work can’t grind to a complete halt, even if there is a worldwide pandemic. Make it clear that staff that is fit and able should continue to go about their duties, albeit without needing to travel to and from the office.
Need to travel?
President Trump’s travel ban comes into effect on Friday the 13th, at which point anyone attempting to fly from a Schengen member of Europe will be barred entry into the United States for 30 consecutive days. Americans and US permanent residents will be allowed to fly to Europe – and will be allowed to return home during this 30-day window, as per CNN. However, you’ll face a 14-day self-quarantine period when you do return.
The US State Department has also released this statement:
"The Department of State advises US citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of Covid-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing Covid-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions.
The upshot? Minimize travel as much as possible and use conferencing tools instead.
As of Friday the 13th, there are just shy of 2,000 confirmed cases, and a death toll of 41. While this is doubtlessly going to rise, there’s no need to panic. The New York Times reports that in a worst-case scenario, the United States could see 200 million infected, with over a million people dying. But as the report states, that’s discounting the measures already being taken.
Schools and colleges have closed, sporting seasons have ground to a halt, and mass gatherings have temporarily become a thing of the past. Even Broadway has ceased operation.
The net result? Casualties and cases in the US are likely to be far less serious than the worst-case prediction, and it appears that children and adults below the age of 65 are the least at risk.