b'SPECIAL VERSIONSURVIVING COVID-19HEALTHY WORKPLACES, REDUCED STAFFS, INFORMED CUSTOMERSSpecial version of syndicated material for Retail Jeweler: March 18, 2020By Phillip M. PerryJewelersfacedauntingoperationalchallengesastherapidAn employers general duty is to maintain the health and safety spreadofCovid-19causesemployeestocallinsickandoftheworkplace,saysJosephDeng,anemploymentlaw customer counts to dwindle. Store owners can reduce workplacepartner at Baker & McKenzie in Los Angeles (bakermckenzie.disruptions with measures such as revisiting sick leave policiescom). A business must be free of hazards that are likely to and allowing some employees to work from home.causedeathorseriousphysicalharm.Inlightofthevirus, employers should pay close attention to what the national, The most important thing is to have a plan and communicatestate and local authorities are advising.ittoemployeesandcustomers,saysBrianBaker,Vice President of Hagerty Consulting, an emergency managementAtthenationallevel,theCentersforDiseaseControland consulting firm based in Evanston, IL (hagertyconsulting.com).Prevention (CDC) continually updates a website (cdc.gov) with The plan should answer two questions: What functions doesadvice about how to reduce the chances of infection. State and the organization need to perform to stay in business? And howlocalauthoritiesmayalsoprovideinformationontheirown can those essential functions continue, given a possible uptickwebsites. Advice at the local level is especially important, inemployeeabsenteeismandadecreaseinthecustomersaysDeng.Itwillbedirectlyrelatedtowhatshappening base? Any plan, though, must begin with the maintenance ofwith the virus in the area where a business is locatedjust as a virus-free environment. a recommended response to a hurricane will depend on the proximity of the storm to a business.CLEAN ENVIRONMENTMuch of the guidance from all levels deals with the proper sanitation of the work environment. The most significant thing businesses can do is make sure employees engage in proper hygiene practices, says Susan Gross Sholinsky, Vice Chair of the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice of Epstein, Becker Green in New York (ebglaw.com). They should keep their premises clean, disinfecting doorknobs, elevator buttons, and community equipment such as printers, and commonly used kitchen items such as refrigerator handles.Employers are also taking the following steps:Allowing teleworkingReplacing travelLimiting the numberEstablishing flexibleSharing bestInforming for those employeeswith audioof workplace visitswork hours forpractices with othercustomers of able to perform theirand videofrom third partiesemployees who businesses in thethe businesss duties from home. conferencing. such as clients andmust stay at home at region and with thepractices regarding vendors.certain times to carelocal chamber ofworkplace for family members. commerce. cleanliness. SICK WORKERSAny employee who comes down with symptoms of the virus (fever, coughing, and shortness of breath) shouldbe required to remain at home. Afflicted individuals should avoid going directly to the hospital or doctors office,instead calling their healthcare provider, or the state or local health department, for advice on what to do next. A business may need to change its traditional paid sick leave policies in light of the coronavirus. Sometimes a liberal sick leave policy is tough for employers, says Baker. But it is much better to lose a portion of your workforce than to lose all of them.Any policy must conform to federal, state and local laws. Those sick for an extended period of time because of Covid-19 may be entitled to short term disability. On occasion it is not the employee who becomes sick, but a child, parent, or a loved one. Or a child must stay home because of the closing of a school or day care center. Or an employee may express fear about using public transportation to commute to work. In all such cases employers must decide whether to grant paid sick leave. 18 | The Jewelry Business Magazine Continued to Pg 61'