Guidance for Businesses
Employers can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 within their workplaces and the community by understanding Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 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.
Prevention and Response
- Encourage your employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19
- Promote masking and physical distancing are recommended for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Empower your employees to implement a COVID-19 screening procedure before leaving for a day of work.
- 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.
- Provide employees with sick leave policies that are flexible, non-punitive, and consistent with public health guidance.
- Ensure that employees who have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, notify their supervisor and quarantine for 5 days from their last date of contact with the positive individual, depending on test results.
- On day 5-7 the exposed individual should then be tested for COVID-19, even if they do not develop symptoms.
- Regardless of a positive or negative result, the individual should continue to mask and watch for symptoms until day 10.
- Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
- Require hand washing/sanitizing by workers at appropriate places within the business.
- Use videoconferencing or teleconferencing if not all members of staff are unvaccinated, when possible, for work-related meetings and gatherings when transmission in the community is high.
- Avoid contact with staff members who are not fully vaccinated when physical distancing is not possible. For example, if the kitchen is not large enough to properly distance, then service staff should distance themselves from all kitchen staff to avoid any close contact.
- Increase access to fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors when weather allows. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk
- Clean high touch surfaces regularly, focusing on areas such as doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops.
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.
Quarantine is required when someone has been in close contact with another person who has COVID-19—excluding people who are fully vaccinated and have received their booster shot. Anyone exposed to COVID-19 who has not received their booster shot will need to quarantine for at least 5 full days. Even if the individual does not develop symptoms, they should be tested for COVID-19 on day 5-7 of their quarantine and continue to mask/monitor for symptoms until day 10 after exposure.
Individuals exposed to COVID-19 should wait 5-7 days after their exposure to get tested, regardless of their vaccination status. If the quarantined employee tests negative, they may return to work but should continue to monitor for symptoms and mask until day 10.
The current CDC guidance has shortened the quarantine time from 10 to 5 days, effectively cutting that time in half which should provide some relief to businesses experiencing a COVID-19 exposure. We know, however, that these measures can still be challenging, but as a community we must do what we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19. There are many preventative actions you can take to avoid significant disruptions to your operations. These recommendations are location in the "Preventing Spread in the Workplace" section of the toolkit.
Practicing appropriate physical distancing among staff who is not vaccinated 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.
Exposed individuals who have not received their booster can be tested for COVID-19 on day 5. If they test negative, they can be released from quarantine, but should wear a mask for an additional 5 days. If they do not get tested, they should remain in quarantine for at least 5 days and continue to mask and monitor an additional 5 days after that.
lose 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 COVID-19, 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.
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.
Yes, businesses can require proof of a positive COVID-19 test. Individuals will receive notification from the Health Department that their test was positive. However, it could take several days for this information to be made available to your employee. Please note: the individual, not their employer, must request this documentation.
Per CDC guidance, employers should not require a sick employee to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to return to work. Employees with COVID-19 who have stayed home can stop home isolation and return to work when they have completed their 5-day isolation period and have been fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and symptoms are improving. Employees must, however, continue to take precautions such as wearing a mask until day 10.