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Chamber Chat: Following virus response plans

Bob Hendrickson, executive director, GINCC

Following Our COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plans

As part of the reopening, all businesses were required to develop a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. These were put in place to help slow the spread of the virus and create a safer environment for employees and customers.

It might be time to take those back out for review.

The plans are broken down into levels of risk of exposure to COVID-19 if present in the community and unfortunately the virus is now doing just that. Infection rates are rising and we cannot afford to start closing back down.

The categories of plan ranges from low to very high risk. Most business fall into the low to medium risk level depending on interaction with the public. However, as the increase of COVID-19 cases increase the level of risk also rises.

One of the important steps businesses need to take in keeping the virus out of the workplace is the daily heath screening. The key to this requires employees to be honest with their health and be upfront if exposure to someone infected. In response, employers need to be ready for a potential impact of extended sick time.

Workplace sanitizing is still a critical component to preventing infection. Through cleaning with proper cleaners on high touch surfaces and washing hands or using hand sanitizer should still be the norm.

Social distancing should also continue to be practiced. The six feet of separation is a very important component to reducing transmission. From the short time we’ve been back open, this seems to be the most difficult to maintain. For some reason people have a hard time keeping their distance. This is where visual floor & staging cues help indicate proper physical distance.

When distancing is unable to take place, physical barriers need to be used. These include the acrylic glass panels where close interaction to takes place such as a check out or reception desk.

The most effective form of physical barrier is the use of masks.

Using a non-medical grade face mask that covers the mouth and nose limits the amount and distance respiratory droplets enter the air. Think of a mask as a muffler for your exhaust. Masks don’t prevent you from catching the virus but they do help reduce how far your breath can travel when you exhale, sneeze or cough.

However, masks will only work if we all use them. Public health should not be political.

A majority of the GINCC member businesses already had a mandatory mask rule to enter their business before the latest executive order mandating them. It’s time we all step up and use masks as part of the strategy in combating the battle against COVID-19.

Our office is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. We are still working short staffed and will be out from time to time on chamber business. Please call ahead at 906-486-1111 or email ginccdirector@gmail.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob Hendrickson is the executive director of the GINCC. He currently resides in Negaunee with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Sierra. He enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and hunting along with family time.

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