As everyone is aware, the United States, as well as the world, is currently dealing with a serious health threat right now known as COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. You are highly encouraged to research the issue using factual resources; we recommend the following websites:
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/.
- World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/
- Tennessee State Government, https://www.tn.gov/.
The United States has now declared a state of emergency. Large gatherings have been restricted in many areas and the impact of the mandatory restrictions has led to the cancellation of many events. The CDC has suggested that people aged 60 or older or individuals with underlying chronic health conditions stay home as much as possible.
We at Choate’s, like so many others, are unsure how this viral threat will ultimately play out. We are taking this matter very seriously and we intend to be proactive in our efforts to minimize the spread of the disease and to protect our most valued asset - our employees and customers. As a response to this uncertain time, Choate’s intends to implement the following procedures.
Employee Safety & Health
Employee safety is and has always been Choate’s number one concern. As such, it is up to individual employees to determine whether he/she feels comfortable coming to work. Choate’s management team realizes there may be situations, such as school closures, that prevent our employees from being able to come to work while caring for loved ones. Choate’s is suspending the requirement for employees to bring a doctor’s note to work for unplanned absences, until further notice. This is at the request of the governing agencies, as the hospital system is presently overwhelmed. Our employees have the ultimate decision on whether they report to work. No questions will be asked during this state of emergency if you miss work. Employees MUST call and notify their direct manager if they intend to miss work.
Due to our systems not being tied into personal devices, our employees will not be working from home. We will monitor and review this possibility as things progress.
The health and safety of our customers is as important to Choate’s as is the health and safety of our employees. We are requiring all technicians, plumbers or other Choate’s employees who visit a customer’s home take the following steps:
- Wear protective face masks.
- Wear protective booties.
- Do not shake hands with customers.
- Use hand sanitizer before entering the customer’s home and upon leaving the customer’s home.
- All employees who use iPads, iPhones and drive Choate’s vehicles are required to wipe down the iPads and iPhones after each customer visit or after any time a device is shared.
- Employees must also wipe down their Choate’s vehicle at the end of the day.
Prevention of Spreading Illness
All employees should practice good and safe personal hygiene to help prevent the spread of illness using the following measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, after touching a communal device (shared printer, door handle, etc.) and before eating. If soap and water are not available, employees should immediately notify their manager so that stock can be replenished, but then also use hand sanitizer. Soap, water and hand sanitizer will be available in all Choate’s offices (as supplies are available for purchase).
- Cover a cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw away any tissue and wash your hands.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Stay away from people who are known to be sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces regularly.
Dealing with sick employees or their families
If one of our employees become sick, and shows symptoms of acute respiratory illness or a fever of 100.4 or higher, they are REQUIRED to stay home until they are fever-free for more than 24 hours without the use of fever reducing or other symptom-altering medicines. If and employee arrives to work and exhibits signs of acute respiratory illness (i.e., cough or shortness of breath), they will be sent home immediately. They will not return to work until they are free from symptoms and are fever-free for more than 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines. If anyone in our employees’ homes becomes sick, meaning they have symptoms of acute respiratory illness or a fever of 100.4 or higher, our employees SHOULD stay home until their loved ones are fever-free for more than 24 hours without the use of fever reducing or other symptom-altering medicines and our employee has not exhibited any signs of acute respiratory illness or a fever.
Choate’s understands this is a difficult time and these measures may seem extreme to some people. We are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and local, state, and federal government agencies.
We appreciate all our employees’ and customers’ assistance in helping to control this outbreak by following the measures we’ve outlined above. Choate’s is committed to providing the best customer service, including making the health and safety of our customers and our employees our first priority.
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