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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Wednesday, 4/15

Updates on face covering requirements, large food production plants closing due to COVID cases, and how to check into a hotel if you must travel...

Today’s Recap:

  • The FDA approved saliva testing. This could increase testing by a dramatic amount nationwide (and is way more pleasant than the current nasal swab!). 
  • NY Governor Cuomo mandated that employers provide face coverings for their employees starting April 15th. Many of you have been able to procure masks, so supply chains may be opening up. Still, we’re worried about the availability of medical-grade masks for healthcare workers. 
  • Sonoma and Riverside counties in CA are now requiring that all residents wear masks in public. L.A. essential businesses can refuse to serve customers who aren’t wearing masks. There are other jurisdictions discussing following suit.
  • Flowers Foods, makers of Dave’s Killer Breads among other baked goods, closed its plant in Tucker, GA after an increase in the number of employees diagnosed with or self-quarantining for COVID-19.
  • Backorders of thermometers and masks seem to be resolving.  Many of you are expecting large shipments in the coming days. 

Your Best Questions of the Day:

I have a manager covering another restaurant.  What do I need to know about protecting both locations and checking into a hotel?

Travel should be extremely limited at this time - there is very little business travel that is absolutely critically necessary right now. If at all possible, delay all travel. 


With that said, there are some things employees can do to protect themselves when checking in to a hotel. These include:

  • Using your own pen to check in
  • Carefully handling credit cards, or better yet – pay in advance online so you don’t need to touch anything at check in.
  • Immediately washing hands upon arriving in the room (and continue to do this every time you return to the room)
  • Carrying hydrogen peroxide cleaner and gloves to do a wipe down of the entire room on check in.  Be sure to get key touch points like door, sink, and toilet handles. Don’t forget the remote!

Remember, if a manager travels to another store during this time and then becomes sick, it’s possible that you’ll have to exclude employees from two separate locations.

We have managers who were hesitant to provide curbside service to a guest who reported recovering from COVID. What guidance can we give them (to reassure them that there is minimal, if any, risk)? 

So when we first got this question this morning, we thought it unusual.  But then got it two more times. We know a few things… one is that it takes some type of face to face contact to contract COVID which generally is not part of the curbside pick up experience.  And  second, that the average length of illness is 7-10 days (those who are sick longer generally require hospitalization and are not discharged until they test negative) so the likelihood that these guests were still infectious is very small.   If an employee or manager has concerns about serving a particular guest, even unfounded, you might ask the guest to open their trunk or car door, or to allow leaving the package next to their car for them to retrieve. We do want all guests to feel welcome and know we appreciate their business.  


Should we be prepping to take employee temperatures? 

We do think that employee temperatures will be an interim measure to allow critical infrastructure workers to continue working and to allow wider return to employment in the weeks and months to come.  The clinical justification for it remains questionable since up to 50% of people with COVID are without symptoms, and even more don’t have fever as a symptom. However, it appears to be the direction we’re going.

Taking employee temperatures isn’t particularly simple - even with the appropriate supplies and procedures (IR thermometers, temp and sanitizing procedures, sanitizing supplies and PPE for the manager).  We are awaiting additional guidance which we will pass along as soon as it becomes available. 

Best Read of the Day:

We’re seeing an absolute explosion in the effective use of telemedicine.  It’s about time… and one of the things that is likely here to stay post-COVID.  

If you need to see a doctor, it’s time to embrace telemedicine

Best Smile of the Day:

This video of an Italian dad who is going stir crazy in quarantine….

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