Coronavirus – What You Need to Know
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As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world and the United States, it is imperative that Tennessee, and more importantly Robertson County employers, are prepared to handle this issue. Below are some resources gathered to help educate employers on the coronavirus:
How Does the Coronavirus Spread?
Coronavirus typically spreads between people within six feet of each other through respiratory secretions, especially coughing and sneezing. Currently, it is unknown whether the virus can be transmitted by touching a surface with the virus on it.
What Can Employers Do Now?
It is imperative that employers maintain open communication with their employees. Employers should ensure that they have updated contact information for current employees and stay informed of the latest news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease.” The CDC recommends employers begin implementing the following steps now:
- Encourage employees with acute respiratory illnesses to stay home
- Separate sick employees
- Emphasize cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene
- Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Advise employees about the risks prior to travel to countries that have had a significant outbreak
- Consider informing employees in the case of possible exposure in the workplace
What Actions Can Employers Take in the Case of a Pandemic?
In the case of a pandemic, employers have the right to send employees home if they show coronavirus-like symptoms at work. Also, employers may enquire if employees are experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms as long as they are mindful of confidentiality obligations. Finally, if an employee returns from traveling during a pandemic, an employer may ask the employee whether they are returning from a location where that individual may have been exposed to the virus.
Can Employers Require Employees to Undergo Medical Examinations?
As stated in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” employers may not require medical examinations under the ADA unless the medical exam is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Whether a medical exam is job-related and consistent with business necessity depends upon the facts presented (e.g., what are the employee’s symptoms, where has the employee been, etc.) and the latest CDC guidance on coronavirus.
This is an evolving issue, and the business that prepares for it will be in a better position to deal with it, if it becomes a crisis in the United States.
The American business community plays a vital role in combating outbreaks of viruses like the coronavirus. From developing life-saving antivirals to supporting global relief efforts to protecting their employees at home and abroad, businesses of all sizes and sectors are stepping up to address this crisis.
What Business Is Doing | View the corporate aid tracker for details on how businesses of all sizes and sectors are stepping up to combat the coronavirus. Corporate donations, both cash and in-kind, to support medical professionals and non-profits currently exceed $260 million.
How You Can Help | If you are a business that’s interested in learning how you can support relief efforts, contact U.S. Chamber Foundation Senior Director of Global Resilience Brooks Nelson.
Economic Impact: In the U.S. and Around the World
Drag On Global Growth, Modest Impact in U.S. | The spread of the coronavirus is a drag on global growth, which includes the United States. Growth in the United States will likely drop in the first quarter by 0.1% to 0.3%. Under this scenario, growth could fall under 2% in the first quarter.
China to Likely See Growth Fall Between 2% and 6% | Right now, some forecasters are predicting growth in China to fall from between 5% and 6% to between 2% and 3% in the first quarter, but that number could be substantially lower. Growth should rebound somewhat in the second quarter if the outbreak is contained soon, workers return to work, and factories resume production at meaningful levels.
The continuing spread of the virus in Japan, Korea, Italy, and other markets is generating additional demand shocks and supply chain disruptions, with corresponding downside risk for U.S. and global growth. Some forecasters are warning of steep declines in U.S. corporate profits for 2020.
Rebound Likely Once Virus Is Contained | When the virus is contained, there will be a bounce back in growth in China and elsewhere that makes up for lost output. The longer the spread continues, the longer it will take to see that rebound.
New Survey on Business Impact | A new flash survey released by our partners at the American Chamber of Commerce in China reveals an early look at how the outbreak is affecting U.S. businesses with operations in China. Among the key findings were widespread reports of travel delays and productivity declines. Nearly one-third of respondents say they are facing increased costs and significantly reduced revenue. Click here for the full results.
Preparing and Responding to Coronavirus
Chambers and businesses need to prepare for the impacts of COVID-19 transmission in the United States. Learn more about implementing a series of actions that minimize impact on local communities and support the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) containment strategy.
Resources & Guidelines for Business
The U.S. Chamber is working closely with the White House, U.S. government agencies, and foreign government officials to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to ensure we are all adequately prepared to protect Americans at home and abroad.
All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations. Download these guides created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which are based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to learn more about how employers and employees can prepare for and address the impacts of the Coronavirus.
Resources from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- COVID-19 Safety and Health Standards, Control & Prevention | An overview of information for workers and employers about the evolving coronavirus outbreak. Includes links to OSHA standards, control and prevention, by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Coronavirus Resource Page | A resource page by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, including links to Resilience in a Box and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Quick Guides.
For additional information and resources, visit https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/coronavirus.
Resources for Employers