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How do I ensure my employees are well and can safely work?

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The Washington State Department of Health has issued guidelines for questions you can ask your employees and guests to screen for coronavirus. Some of the questions you CAN ask include:

In the last 24 hours:

  • Have you had a new fever higher than 100.4 degrees?
  • Have you experienced a new cough you can’t attribute to another health condition?
  • Have you experienced shortness of breath that you can’t attribute to another health condition?
  • Have you experienced a new sore throat that you can’t attribute to another health condition?

For more information, read the guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health.

Review health protocols and make sure sick employees stay home

Talk with your team about employee health requirements and expectations. Now is a good time to refresh your employees on food and guest safety practices to make sure everyone is following the same safety protocols.

Employees who are sick with symptoms matching those of coronavirus must stay home. Adopt and communicate a zero-tolerance policy. Employees with family members/caregivers with symptoms matching coronavirus should also stay home. If one of your employees presents symptoms, alert your local health department immediately.

Employees with a cough, shortness of breath, fever or other symptoms of illness should not return to work until they are symptom-free. Current guidance is to stay home until at least 72 hours after symptoms have gone away – without the aid of fever reducers and cold medicines.

This may be altered by medical diagnosis, local health direction, changing community conditions, or other factors.

Learn more by reviewing:

What do you do if your employee gets sick?

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Do not require a health care provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as health care provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way. (You can require a doctor’s note if the employee is out for 3+ days. Use your best judgment and talk with your legal counsel.)

For more guidance, visit the CDC website.