Yes, as long as the employee has no symptoms and has completed their full 10 or 14 day exclusion for close contact, they may return. There have been testing delays and we are seeing this often!
Short answer, no. Face shields are less effective than masks because they don’t prevent droplets from spreading in the same way. The virus can linger in tiny, aerosolized droplets in the air, and through larger droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, etc. Face shields do not provide the same coverage to prevent those droplets from escaping. Face masks are the best option. In the rare case that someone has a legitimate medical reason for being unable to wear a mask, a full face shield that wraps around the sides of the head and goes from forehead to below the chin is the next best alternative. These tiny clear “masks of glory” that we are all getting instagram ads for are NOT effective against the spread of...well...anything.
Great question, and a tough one! If your business doesn’t have any patterns of positive COVID cases, we tend toward letting local and state officials make the tough decisions about when businesses need to close. But if you have multiple positive cases, many excluded employees due to close contact, and you’re operating very understaffed - that’s when you want to be careful to ensure that you’re communicating the importance of reporting exposure and symptoms. We’ve seen cases where managers and employees, feeling the crunch of being understaffed, work after getting sick or being exposed, and that puts them over the edge in terms of excluding too many staff to operate effectively. At the end of the day, we think you should be excluding employees consistently and conservatively, and when doing that leads to being understaffed, that’s when it might be time to consider pulling back to reduced operations or a temporary closure.
Working within six feet of each other at this time is not recommended, per the CDC guidance. However, when it is unavoidable, it is critical that the employees complete wellness checks, are masked, and likely should rotate every ten minutes (with an alarm or reminder) to reduce risk. This isn't ideal and the 15 minutes consecutive contact hasn't been studied closely yet.
Good question and a challenging one. Early on in the COVID crisis, there was widespread info that children weren’t getting COVID. As the case count grew, more children have gotten sick - although some less severely and presenting with symptoms that don’t include fever, cough or shortness of breath. Pediatricians generally are not performing COVID testing. And children are often more likely to not be able to describe some symptoms like loss of taste or smell. While it may seem overly conservative to exclude parents from work when kids are sick with what wasn’t diagnosed as COVID, that is often the safest route while we are continuing to see COVID surging.
Good question and a judgement call. Most of our clients are not excluding at that point since so much time has already passed. But there is clearly some minor risk in not doing so.
Thanks to Florence Fabrikant and the NYT for recognizing the launch of SafeEats and our work together to make guests feel safe coming back to NYC restaurants.
Well ...not really funny, but sums up our week.