For businesses

Toolkit for businesses

Employers can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 within their workplaces and the community, by understanding Health Department guidelines.

 The Health Department will identify and contact people who test positive for COVID-19 and close contacts to discuss the proper steps they need to take. However, due to the volume of cases and the process of disease reporting, these calls can be delayed by several days. Often, friends, family and employers are aware of a potential exposure before the Health Department. The COVID-19 Toolkit for Businesses & Workplaces was created by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department as a guide to help your business or organization create or enhance your COVID-19 prevention and response policy. 

While this toolkit and the guidance below cover general business operations, there is more information available for different sectors, such as childcare, restaurants, gyms or personal services

Current Orders

Businesses should to read and understand the updated requirements of the Civil Emergency Order which may affect their operations. . In some cases, an order might have specific requirements for different types of businesses.

City of Springfield order: www.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirusresponse

All retail businesses, restaurants and personal care services in the City of Springfield must limit customer occupancy based on the order that applies to their location. Refer to the order for guidance specific to your industry.

As of July 16th, masks are required in public places inside the Springfield city limits. Click here for masking ordinance FAQs

Prevention & Response

  • It is recommended that businesses screen employees and/or customers for symptoms. The Prevention & Response Guide explains how to set up employee screening. You may also consider providing your employees with a symptom screening log.            
  • Promote and encourage safe practices such as face coverings and physical distancing. Printables and signs are available for employer use to promote current guidelines and recommendations.  
  • Require employees to stay home if they are sick. Send them home if they report to work with a symptom or if symptoms develop during their workday.
  • Individuals at high-risk should continue to remain at home and not interact with others except for vital activities.
  • Remote work options and alternate meeting options should be continued. When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
  •  Employees who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and quarantine for 14 days from their last date of contact with the positive individual.  More information on quarantine and isolation can be found here.
  • Practice physical distancing of 6 feet in all areas to prevent close contacts. Remember, according to CDC guidance, if an employee tests positive, anyone who has had close contact has to quarantine, even if they were wearing masks.
  • Promote the use of self-serve checkout registers; clean and disinfect registers and client credit cards regularly.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes. 
  • Require hand washing/sanitizing by workers at appropriate places within the business.

Physical Distancing Guidance

Employees and Patrons

Businesses must meet physical distancing requirements by maintaining at least six feet from employee to employee and employee to patron to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus infection. Recognizing that this may be challenging, below are examples:

  • Offer services remotely utilizing video or phone.
  • Provide delivery of products through curbside pick-up or delivery.  
  • Post signs, floor markings, etc. with clear instructions of steps employees and patrons should take to maintain physical distancing.
  • Mark off six feet spacing for patrons standing in line or checking out.
  • Space kiosk/register six feet apart or use every other station.
  • In retail spaces where employee/customer distancing cannot be maintained, a physical barrier should be used (plexiglass panel).

Employers and Employees

  • Stagger shifts and schedules for employees. Consider adopting cohorts to reduce the number of employee-to-employee interactions. 
  • Take breaks and meals outside or where proper physical distancing is attainable. 
  • Close common areas (e.g. breakrooms, meeting rooms, etc.) where employees and customers are likely to congregate and interact. 
  • Increase physical space between employees at the worksite (e.g. moving desks six feet apart, having employees working at every other workstation, etc.)

COVID-19 FAQs FOR BUSINESSES 

These are questions we frequently receive from businesses and organizations through our COVID-19 call center and the contract tracing process. Much of this information will assist you in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace, and help you understand what steps to take if you have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to someone who has.

Why do we have to quarantine if we were all wearing masks?

While face masks and coverings are a proven way to slow the spread of COVID-19, they are not a substitute for physical distancing. Therefore, anyone who has had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 must still quarantine.

I had all my exposed employees get tested, and they are negative. Can they return to work?

Exposed individuals need to quarantine for the full 14 days, even if they have a negative COVID-19 test result. This is because the incubation period is the full 14 days. Testing negative immediately after exposure means that the virus is not yet present in the nose and throat where it replicates and causes symptoms. Since this may not occur until day 14, exposed individuals still need to quarantine.

How am I supposed to run my business?
How can I avoid mass quarantines which may result in me having to shut down my business?

Practicing appropriate physical distancing lowers the chance of disruptions to your operations following a COVID-19 exposure. Once those who had close contact with the COVID-19 positive individuals have been identified and sent home, properly sanitize their work spaces. Employees that did not have close contact should still monitor for symptoms, and if you do not have screening procedures in place, consider implementing them.

When can employees come back to work?
Our employee who was sick came into close contact with customers/clients, what do we do?

Close contacts do not include infectious people who may walk past you at a place like the grocery store or gas station. In settings like this, there is no action necessary. If a customer or client has had close contact to an employee who has tested positive for COVID19, you may wish to notify them. We recommend that you only relay the CDC recommendations to avoid unintentional misinformation. We have attached an example phone call script and an email template to assist in making these contacts. We recommend that you notify those that you can verify had close contact. You may also choose to provide them with the supplemental materials in this packet that they can review while they wait for a call from us. If you don’t have names or contact information for those individuals, have the employee disclose this information to the Health Department.

Is it okay to tell my staff or customers who tested positive?

Due to privacy laws, you are prohibited from sharing the private medical information of your employees without their prior authorization. Even if you are asked by an employee or customer directly about an individual, you should neither confirm nor deny whether that individual is positive for COVID-19.

Can I require proof that the employee is positive or has been exposed?

The Health Department will provide all positive individuals and their close contacts with documentation outlining isolation or quarantine guidelines. However, it may take several days for this information to be made available to your employee. If the employee has completed their isolation or quarantine and has not yet heard from the Health Department, they may call 874-1211. Please note: the individual, not their employer, must request this documentation.

Should I require my positive employee to show proof of a negative test before returning to work?

No. The Health Department utilizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) strategy for releasing an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for a minimum of 10 days from when their symptoms started, or if asymptomatic, 10 days from their test date. They may not be released from isolation until there are cleared by the Health Department. After 10 days and 24 hours symptom free, the virus is no longer replicating and the individual is not infectious. However, because tests are not able to differentiate between live and dead virus cells, people may receive a positive test result for up to 6 weeks after the onset of symptoms even though they are no longer ill or infectious.

I was told I was an essential worker/business during the Stay at Home order. Does this mean that I can continue working even if I was exposed to COVID-19?

In the spring, the Stay at Home ordinances in Springfield and Greene County identified several types of businesses that were essential and could remain open. However, these businesses do not necessarily fall under the definition of critical infrastructure which might allow employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 to continue working under a modified quarantine. Typically, modified quarantine ONLY applies to first responders and health care workers. If you are exposed to COVID-19, the Health Department will determine if you are eligible for a modified quarantine. If you would like a determination, notify the contact tracer who reaches out to you. PLEASE NOTE: THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19. THERE IS NO MODIFIED ISOLATION. ALL WORKERS WHO TEST POSITIVE MUST ISOLATE.

If I have to isolate or quarantine and working from home is not an option for me, how will I pay my bills?

Full time and part time workers may be eligible for paid sick leave through the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. If their employer has more than 500 employees and is not offering paid sick leave to full time and/or part time employees, then the employee can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). To be eligible for a PUA claim, individuals must first file a regular unemployment claim and be found not eligible. However, eligibility for part-time employees for both PUA and regular unemployment varies. They can begin that process here: https://uinteract.labor.mo.gov/benefits/home.do, and find more information on PUA here: https://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. More information on the FFCRA can be found in the Toolkit section below under “Families First Coronavirus Response Act Posters.” Both FFCRA and PUA are set to expire on 12/31/2020.

 

COVID-19 Toolkit Individual Sections

  • A Prevention & Response Guide for Employers: This guide will cover strategies that employers can implement to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their workplaces, and step-by-step instructions for what to do when an employee tests positive or is exposed to COVID-19.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: We have answered the most commonly asked questions that we hear from businesses.
  • Workplace Symptom Screening Log: A log to ensure that employees are completing a symptom and temperature screening daily.
  • Close Contact Log: If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, this tool will assist employers in recording and contacting individuals who should begin self-quarantining. This information will also need to be provided to the Health Department.
  • Exposure Notification Call & Email Templates: Notifying other employees or customers of a possible exposure can be challenging. These templates can be used to make those notifications, provide information, and help avoid miscommunication.
  • Sample Employment Policies for COVID-19: Employers with workplace/employment policies can use these sample policies related to COVID-19 to communicate their prevention and response processes and expectations to their staff.
  • Rights and Responsibilities for Employees and Employers: Along with the sample policies, these pages will be an effective way of communicating the actions you will take as an employer and the expectations you have of your employees, related to COVID-19.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act Posters: Employee & Employer: These posters are provided from the Department of Labor for businesses eligible for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act paid leave program.
  • "What Do I Do?" Information for Individuals: Employees or customers will likely have questions if they are notified of an exposure, show symptoms, or test positive for COVID-19. These three graphics will answer a lot of their questions and let them know what their next steps should be.
  • Individual Temperature & Symptom Log: Individuals who need to quarantine should begin monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 at home, this log will help them do that.
  • Printables for Display: We have included a variety of signs that can be displayed in and around workplaces to remind both employees and customers of the precautions they should take to protect themselves and others.