The Chamber wants to support you in preparing your business or organization for potential impacts from the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and seeks your help in preventing spread in our community. The Coronavirus has already had a vast impact on our local economy. We’re in touch with many members for support in planning for continued workplace and economic disruptions from the spread of Coronavirus. This message is intended to provide you with the best sources of information we’ve found, as well as suggestions to help you plan for and mitigate the impact of this virus on your business, organization, and family.
To see the number of tests and confirmed cases in Tennessee visit the TN Health Department website at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html. Since it has a long incubation period, it could be over two weeks from initial exposure until symptoms appear, and even longer before people are tested and cases are confirmed. Everything that we are reading about this illness indicates that we should continue to take this threat seriously, widespread health and economic impacts from this virus are being felt nationwide.
It is our shared responsibility to stem the spread of this virus and to prepare as best we can. To that end, we’ve compiled some of the most reliable sources of information for your business along with a few key priorities for you to consider:
Workplace Cleanliness: Encourage frequent hand washing; make hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes available; provide free tissues; and encourage your team to find non-contact ways of greeting others and working together.
Review your upcoming meeting calendar and change in-person meetings to virtual meetings or phone calls. If you are feeling unwell, do not visit other organizations—reschedule meetings or drop-ins as necessary. Likewise, be flexible when others ask to reschedule with you.
Sick Policies: To help prevent the spread of this or any virus, please support your employees in staying home if they are sick. You may need to review your paid time off/sick time policies if they do not allow the flexibility or financial support your employees need to comply. Also, learn who on your team may have responsibility to care for others, should circumstances require it.
Remote Work Policies: If you are able to consider remote work as an option, and don’t already have a remote work policy, it may be time to develop such a policy with input from your IT provider. Since many workplaces cannot allow remote work, consider instead how you may shift or rotate schedules.
Understand Your Employer Obligations: You are legally obligated to provide a safe workplace and to make accommodations for those with disabilities. Protecting your workplace and team from the spread of Coronavirus is no different.
Here is guidance from OSHA: Getting the Workplace Ready for COVID-19
Here is guidance from EEOC: Pandemic Preparedness and the ADA
Make a Plan for Reduced or Interrupted Operations: Prepare your business and customers for disruptions in operations, whether it be from changes in consumer behavior, supply chain issues, or a large portion of your workforce being ill. Ensure that you have access to emergency funding or a line of credit should you have a significant disruption in operations.
Examine Your Supply Chain: Large manufacturers are already examining their supply chains in impacted areas to minimize disruptions. Consider whether any of your suppliers are located in regions with significant impacts, and whether your shipping times may be lengthened – with the goal of maintaining necessary inventory levels to support your business operations.
Communications Plan: Have a point person on your staff who will take the lead in keeping your information current, addressing staff concerns, and communicating updates to your team.
Use Your Professional Associations for Support: Many professional networks and organizations are offering webinars and other resources for employers. Make use of these opportunities!
Get Updates Regularly: Ensure you are checking back with numerous sources regularly for the most up to date guidance and information regarding the spread of this virus.
More resources are included below for your convenience. Be well, friends!
TN State Department of Health
State of TN Small Business COVID-19 Resources
State of TN Unified Command Hub
Centers for Disease Control
The CDC has the most resources for all groups, but specifically speaks to how businesses should prepare for this outbreak.
US Chamber of Commerce
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.
Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship
Small Business Guide to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development- Unemployment
COVID-19 Unemployment for Employers
COVID-19 Unemployment for Employees
TN Department of Human Services
Financial Aid Available for Certain Families That Lost Employment Due to COVID-19
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Jobs 4 TN – The Tennessee Talent Exchange
New initiative to help you find work in the grocery, retail and logistics industries during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you have any questions, please call the Chamber at 423-338-5040, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
* A brief reminder that we are not doctors or legal experts – just your friendly local Chamber doing our best to keep you informed.*