Coronavirus, Car Dealers and Collections: What Does It Mean for You?
As we are all well aware, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading rampant throughout the country and throughout the world.
By Jessica Cumbee, Compliance Attorney
As we are all well aware, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading rampant throughout the country and throughout the world. While we advise everyone to stay up-to-date on the latest updates and information by visiting the Center for Disease Control's website, www.cdc.gov, we would like to provide you with a few tips for protecting your customers, your employees and your business.
OSHA has also published a guide for preparing the workplace for COVD-19, which you can find here: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf. OSHA's General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious harm.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, and the CDC states that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The virus is spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact or through respiratory droplets, which can be picked up from close contact or from contact with infected surfaces such as desk, door handles, steering wheels, computers, etc.
Preventing the spread of germs is essential for the safety of your customers and your employees. Here are a few tips for your employees on how to prevent the spread of germs:
1. Wipe down your vehicles before and after all test drives or service.
2. Have hand sanitizer placed strategically around your offices, including, by doors, on desks and in waiting areas.
3. Avoid shaking hands as much as possible. In the event that you do inadvertently shake hands, make sure that you both sanitize your hands thoroughly.
4. Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Again, sanitize or wash your hands thoroughly if you do touch your face.
5. Cover your coughs or sneezes with your elbow and monitor yourself for signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
6. This last tip shouldn't surprise you, but when you use the restroom, WASH YOUR HANDS thoroughly. Sing the Happy Birthday song twice in your head, or out loud if you prefer a bit of a concert, and make sure you get the back of your hands too.
As a business owner, it is important to protect yourself too. Please refer to OSHA's guide described above. Develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan, which could include things like allowing employees to work from home or in staggered shifts so as to avoid as much contact with other people as possible; provide tissues, hand sanitizers, soaps and disinfecting wipes; discourage employees from using other employees' phones, computers, desks, etc.; do not require a doctor's note for employees who are sick, as healthcare providers may not be able to keep up. Your employees are your most valuable asset, so make sure you communicate with them and prepare a flexible plan to protect both them and your company.
Monitor local, state and federal updates.