01/22/21—For businesses and organizations, the effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 means adapting to new challenges involved in safely maintaining daily operations. Leadership and business owners find themselves in uncharted territory, shouldering these huge responsibilities to their families, workforce, and shareholders.
Businesses tend to react in one of three ways: shut down, do nothing and hope for the best, or actively pursue solutions to protect the lives and livelihoods of those they work with. Temporary closures have become permanent for 60% of businesses. WHO estimates that tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty due to economic and social disruptions of the pandemic, with half of the 3.3 billion global workforce at risk of losing their livelihoods. In the US alone, unemployment claims have spiked to 965,000, fueling questions about how to maintain during this unprecedented crisis.
For those who don’t close down, ignoring the reality of our situation can be tempting. While we may see glimpses of normality towards the end of 2021, with additional more transmissible strains and varying degrees of success with vaccine distribution, it’s more important than ever for employers to be proactive. What are the risks for businesses and organizations who choose to move forward without a plan of action?
Lives lost or irreparably altered
With coronavirus deaths topping 2 million globally just over a year after the virus was first detected, the immense human loss is undeniable. With long term effects ranging from fatigue to lung function abnormalities and neurological issues, there is no doubt employers should want to shield employees from contracting COVID-19. The physical health effects can be enormous, and the implications on mental health will be felt by employers and families long after the pandemic.
Liabilities and lawsuits
As deaths rise in the United States, so do the number of lawsuits from those who have suffered after contracting COVID-19 at work. Estimates say the cost to businesses could be in the billions. “Businesses should be very concerned about these cases,” said labor and employment attorney Tom Gies of Crowell & Moring, which defends employers. One such lawsuit was filed by the daughter of Esperanza Ugalde of Illinois, alleging her mother died of COVID-19 that her father contracted working on a meat processing line. No infection prevention measures had been adopted. Business owners need to protect not only their employees, but their resources, and in turn, their ability to maintain operations and provide for employees in the future.
With so much as stake, taking proactive measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 is the only viable option. The best way to do that is implementing guidelines for prevention, along with systems for testing and contact tracing. The data-driven support that digital contact tracing can provide takes 99% less time than traditional contact tracing methods. AlertTrace also reinforces CDC distancing guidelines in addition to collecting tracing data, helping to both curb and monitor spread. With quick deployment and a user-friendly system, it’s simple to safeguard your team with AlertTrace.
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