Contact Tracing Guide for Small Businesses

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As an owner of a retail store, contact tracing is essential in preventing your employees from getting COVID-19 and, subsequently, having your store closed down

According to experts at Franklin Pierce University, contact tracing is “the process of identifying, notifying, and monitoring anyone who comes in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 while they were infectious”.

While contact tracing is carried out by public health authorities, there are concrete steps you can take, such as creating an in-store policy to curb the spread of COVID-19, using contact tracing apps, and following suggestions from local and government health agencies, as suggested by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Develop A Contact Tracing Plan

As outlined by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testing positive for COVID-19 can stem from being within 6 feet of an individual who is infected for over 15 minutes. Infected individuals may or may not have symptoms and can spread the virus 48 hours of exhibiting symptoms. 

Contact tracing for COVID-19 requires contacting individuals who were exposed and asking them to quarantine for 14 days in order to avoid spreading the virus.

As a business owner, your job is to develop a contact tracing policy and make the policy known and available to your employees. Having a solid plan in place is beneficial as it will protect your employees and customers’ health. You’ll also hopefully avoid a full-blown break out which would force you to close your business. Be sure to stay up-to-date with new laws or regulations related to COVID-19 to avoid any liability. 

Create an Employee/Customer Log

Retail store owners can do their part by tracking employees’ activities and keeping customer logs, if possible. Employees need to be aware that if they test positive for COVID-19, they must provide a list of people they were in contact with at work. To simplify this, create a customer log and a questionnaire to guide them in seeking medical assistance.   

Businesses who see clients one-on-one can easier track who their employees have been in contact with and vice versa. But this can be challenging for certain types of businesses like retailers and restaurants and it also depends on your state or county’s laws. For instance, the Los Angeles County’s Restaurant Protocol requires restaurants to collect customer contact information, either at the time of reservation booking or on-site to allow for contact tracing if required. 

Connect With Health Agencies

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, contact your local or state health department for instructions on how to conduct contact tracing. However, if contacted by a public health official about a COVID-19 case among your employees, provide them with your employees’ contact information, work schedule and perhaps a brief description of your business, if necessary.

Respect Employees’ Confidentiality

Should one or more of your employees be diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms, you are allowed to ask them questions without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. But if you end up having a COVID-19 breakout at your business, it’s your responsibility to respect employee confidentiality by not disclosing the identity of the individuals to co-workers.  

Contact Tracing Apps

There are likely different apps at your disposal to assist you in contact tracing. These apps are used to track the movements of COVID-19-infected individuals and rely on digital technologies such as Bluetooth, GPS. While different apps are being used by public health agencies and employers alike, there isn’t one that has been widely recommended thus far.

Go Contactless with Payanywhere 

With social distancing measures and mask wearing in place, COVID-19 has likely shifted the way you run your business, particularly as it pertains to employees; your employee schedules may fluctuate often based on your retail store’s traffic. But by using Payanywhere’s Homebase, adjustments to employee schedules can be made easily and be effective within minutes. Also if employees have COVID-19 or symptoms that might be indicative of COVID-19, you can easily track employee availability and grant time off - making it an ideal tool to have when sudden changes arise. 

What’s more, employees can easily access up-to-date work schedules by text, email or in the free mobile app, which relieves you from the hassle of making calls and sending emails. 

Consider getting a Payanywhere’s Homebase tool, it will make contact tracing easier and also simplify managing personnel in the ever-evolving era of COVID-19. Learn more contact Payment Experts today.

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