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COVID-19 Briefing - 3.20.20

How long to exclude people from work, talking points for positive COVID-19 results, stay at home orders, and more...

Today’s Recap:

  • FL, OH, and IL require symptom surveys before employees can work.
  • The CDC provided additional guidance to health care providers that specifically states: “Persons with COVID-like illness not requiring hospitalization should stay home. It is safer for patients and healthcare workers, and testing does not currently change clinical management or recommendations about staying home.” It goes on to say: There is no reason to test asymptomatic persons or mild to moderately ill persons who are not hospitalized (even healthcare workers or first responders).
  • New Jersey, Connecticut, and Illinois join CA and NY by ordering residents to stay at home, and shuttering nonessential businesses. More states may follow. 
  • E.Coli doesn’t quarantine — It’s alive and well, in sprouts from Chicago Indoor Garden. 39 cases in 6 states. A great reminder why being prepared for other illnesses helps us prep for COVID, and vice versa.


Here are the exclusions we are currently following (This has changed and will likely change again):

Note: Coworkers do not require exclusion for casual contact with a reported positive, e.g. working a shift with this person before symptoms started. Only if they have intimate contact or live with the employee who reported positive. 

Your best questions of the day:

  1. We have someone who says they tested positive for COVID-19. What should we tell other employees at their restaurant, if anything? 

The CDC is recommending it is best practice to do that. Here are Talking Points for when a coworker has reported they’ve tested positive to COVID-19:

  • Recently we were notified that a co-worker has reported to have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • We are in close contact with the CDC, health departments and our own medical advisors.
  • We’re properly sanitizing the restaurant as a precaution
  • There is no reason for anyone from this location to be quarantined for this contact following the CDC’s latest guidelines. That is only for  family members or intimate contacts.
  • Please monitor yourself for symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of break, diarrhea) .
  • Notify your manager and don’t come to work if you develop any of them (or any other illness – it’s still cold and flu season).
  • Handwashing and not working sick remain our two most important tools.


  1. What constitutes close contact if our employees work in very tight quarters in the kitchen?

Right now, the CDC is not advising that we quarantine anyone except those that live with and have intimate physical relationships (read: canoodling) with someone who’s a confirmed case, or has symptoms and is being tested


  1. Do I need to notify the public if I have a COVID-19 positive employee?

We are not aware of any jurisdiction where that is required or clinically necessary, though we can’t give legal advice. 

  1. An employee reported to me that they have been exposed to COVID-19.  What do I do?

At this point, many of us have already been exposed. If it was just casual contact, they just need to monitor for symptoms. Only close contacts of confirmed cases (family members and people they canoodle with) need to be self-quarantining before they show symptoms. 

  1. We have a team member returning from travel. Can they work? 

The State Department raised the risk level to Level 4 for all countries. Best practice is to exclude someone who has recently travelled internationally for 14 days upon their return to the US. Some states, like Florida, are recommending 14 days for any travel, including domestic. Since this isn’t aligned with CDC, we’re not recommending it outside of Florida. We expect this question will wind down over the next few days as people stop travelling.



Our best read of the day:

As more states go to shelter in place or stay home orders, and as we get more concerned about the length of this situation, we’re all experiencing some level of anxiety. Here’s an excellent read on coping techniques


Today’s Celebrity Birthday for your handwashing song:

Fred Rogers! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, presumably, but we haven’t gone outside to see…


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