Special Edition of the Workforce Connector
With the Delta Variant causing COVID-19 cases to rise once again, businesses might be looking for guidance to decide what safety measures to put in place to keep employees and customers safe. The following resources are the latest guidance/recommendations from health experts.
On August 13, 2021, OSHA updated Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace (Guidance) related to the COVID-19 vaccine and masking.
The Guidance now incorporates the new CDC recommendations including:
Letter: Creating #COVIDSafeZones in America’s Workplaces
Dear Private Sector Leaders:
The United States sits at a critical juncture in our efforts to move beyond the pandemic. We are seeking your help. More than 164 million Americans – representing 58 percent of the eligible population – have been fully vaccinated, providing substantial protection against illness, reducing deaths, lessening the burden on hospitals, and reducing missed workdays and closures. Increasing vaccination rates is the country’s most immediate and best hope of reaching population immunity, beating the pandemic, and restoring our national vitality and way of life.
But obstacles remain – obstacles that the private sector, which employs 124 million Americans and is the engine of American productivity and economic growth, can pull together to overcome.
The latest variant of COVID-19 – Delta – spreads far more easily and rapidly. More people not protected by vaccines are becoming infected faster, from more limited contact. Vaccinated people are generally protected, especially from severe disease, but can become infected and spread the virus to co-workers, families, and their communities. The Delta variant represents a more dangerous threat to your workplace health and safety, business continuity, and ability to serve your clients and customers.
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Task Force Release
Eau Claire County has experienced a large increase in COVID-19 cases, with average cases per day increasing by 28x since July 1, 2021. Most cases in Wisconsin are from the Delta variant, which is more contagious and may cause more than 2x as many infections. We are especially concerned about rapid spread in workplace and business settings from this much more contagious strain of the virus. It is much more likely that a single sick individual could lead to many sick people in your workplace.
With increasing cases and increased transmission, ensuring employees who are sick or have been exposed stay home is critically important.
Reminder: Eau Claire County is currently rated as having a HIGH level of community spread by the CDC. The CDC, WI Department of Health Services (DHS), and our local Health Department agree that masks be worn by anyone age 2+ (vaccinated or unvaccinated) in public indoor spaces as one of our layered strategies to slow disease at this level of transmission. See Health Department press release from 7/30/21 here.
CDC, WI DHS, and local public health all concur on the following critical strategies for preventing spread:
Inside HR: Vaccination Fascination and Other COVID Resources
Recent weeks have seen a flurry of changes. New vaccination mandates are popping up all over, as well as mask and routine COVID testing requirements. There is constant change as employers and communities work to move forward and stay safe despite growing rates of Delta infections. MRA will continue to provide resources and updates on changes related to COVID-19 to keep you informed and prepared for what comes next.
News and Resources: Resource: COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
Resource: OSHA updates guidance on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in response to recent CDC update.
Article: Long COVID Covered Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Updated Resource: COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs for Employers
Guide: Developing Work From Home Policies for Employers Who Sponsor Foreign National Employees
State News: Governor Pritzker Launches Illinois Works Training Program to help support and expand pre-apprenticeship programs.
Illinois offers Back to Business grant program to assist small businesses’ recovery, with targeted funds for disproportionately impacted communities.
City of Duluth Adds to Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance
Dane County, Wisconsin reinstates mask requirements, effective August 19, 2021, for those 2 and older.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.