CORONAVIRUS UTAH

What Utah Employers Should Be Doing Amid Coronavirus Worries

Mar 10, 2020, 10:47 PM | Updated: 11:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State leaders are calling on businesses to join them in the fight against the novel coronavirus, hours after announcing the state’s second case of COVID-19.

“Virus or no virus, Utah remains open for business,” said a member of the Salt Lake Chamber during a livestream event with employers across the state and some of Utah’s leaders on the frontlines of the state’s response to the virus.

“We don’t need to panic, we just need to be prepared,” said Val Hale, executive director at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

“You guys are part of the solution,” Utah state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn told the group of hundreds streaming the message from their workplaces. “This is really going to take a community to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Some businesses like Onset Financial got started weeks ago when they sent their employees home early with cash to buy items they might need for a two-week quarantine.

“The last thing we want is for the panic to hit and while our employees are helping us grow our business, the shelves at the grocery stores are empty,” said Debbie Worthen, who leads the marketing team at Onset Financial in Draper.

Dunn said the first thing businesses should do is focus on prevention by cleaning high touch surfaces twice a day and encouraging employees to wash their hands.

“That’s what we’re trying to prevent is people who are sick spreading their spit to other people,” Dunn said.

She knows employees don’t like to use sick time and will often go to the office with “a slight fever or a slight cough,” but emphasized, “We do not want them to do that right now. They need to stay at home. Make sure our leave policies are not a barrier to keeping them home.”

The struggle is employers can keep sick workers home but there is no state or federal law that says they must pay employees for missed work.

“If you just decided, ‘I’m self-quarantining. I’m not coming in,’ they could fire you if they don’t like that answer,” said Eric Olsen, public information officer for the Utah Labor Commission.

He strongly recommended Utahns learn what their employer’s leave policy is.

“You don’t want to have things progress into a state where now we have to stay home or I have to do this or that or self-quarantine and then find out later, wait what? I’m not going to be able to get paid for this?” he said.

Onset Financial made a change there too, telling employees they won’t have to use sick leave to stay at home.

Dunn is asking all employers to be flexible.

“If you’re requiring them to have a doctor’s note, you’re actually contributing to the problem of potentially overwhelming our healthcare systems,” she said.

Another thing Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox asked businesses to do was to look at technology solutions where possible, then ask the question, “do you have the ability to do what you’re doing now remotely?”

If that’s not an option, they recommend staggering shifts so there are fewer employees at the office at once. They also urged employers to cancel all “nonessential work-related travel to affected areas” like China, Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan.

“We’re not at the peak of the outbreak right now,” Dunn warned. “We’re still going up.”


RELATED: Your Coronavirus Workplace Questions Answered


Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL TV wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy

What We Know And Don’t Know About The Coronavirus

The latest coronavirus stories from KSL TV can be found here.

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirus?

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
8 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
8 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
12 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
21 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
1 month ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
What Utah Employers Should Be Doing Amid Coronavirus Worries