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Q&A: Thanksgiving and COVID

Question:

Several of our employees have talked about having Thanksgiving with large groups of extended family. What can we do to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading into our workplace?


Assuming you don’t want to make everyone quarantine or argue with employees about their Thanksgiving dinner plans, I’d follow the guidelines used for exposed healthcare workers. Everyone in the workplace should:

• Wear a mask at all times. Masks should be two layers and be worn correctly.
• Practice social distancing at all times.
• Wash hands frequently.
• Self-monitor for symptoms continuously.

In addition, the company should check employees’ temperatures and ask about symptoms when they arrive for work each day.

These are good practices regardless of whether any employees will be attending large indoor gatherings, but they are that much more important when employees are engaging in high risk activities. If you’re not already requiring most or all of these things, I would encourage you to start now and continue throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Answer from Kara, JD, SPHR:

Kara practiced employment law for five years and worked in Human Resources for several years prior to that. As an attorney, she worked on many wage and hour and discrimination claims in both state and federal court. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oregon State University and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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