As women business owners, we prepare for everything—sales, capital, competition, hiring, retiring and more. Still, unexpected things come up, and that’s why NAWBO is here to best support you.
With Coronavirus, or COVID-19, top of mind for all Americans with it officially detected in the U.S. in a few imported cases, we wanted to help you prepare both personally and professionally in case we face wider spread in the days ahead.
First, let’s consider the facts:
While imported cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the U.S., according to the CDC, there is no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmissions of the virus.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency in the U.S. to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to the virus.
While the CDC maintains the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, the immediate health risk for the general public in the U.S. is considered low at this time.
Now, let’s look at how we can protect ourselves:
- Understand your risk: People with an increased risk of infection include those with underlying health issues, older adults and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.
- Know the symptoms: Symptoms include cough, sore throat, high temperature and feeling tired and achy—symptoms similar to the flu.
- Protect yourself: Take extra precautions like you would during a heavy flu season:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Clean and disinfect common areas and frequently touched surfaces.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve, not your hand.
- Avoid traveling to areas affected by a viral outbreak.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep your distance from people who are sick.
- Protect your employees: Consider increasing your frequency of wiping down and sanitizing your business’ high-traffic areas. Also, make hand-sanitizer and even masks and gloves available in common areas, like break and bathrooms.
- Prepare your business: If Coronavirus spreads in the U.S., your business might experience absenteeism and see impacts to local transportation, healthcare and emergency systems.
Here are some strategies to consider now:
- Allow flexible work schedules or telecommuting instead of large in-person gatherings.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene.
- Request that anyone with a fever stay home for at least 24 hours after their temperature returns to normal.
- Consider adjusting business etiquette; it’s okay to not shake hands with others during this time.
- Limit international travel but when necessary, advise those traveling to take certain steps before and during travel to stay healthy. The CDC provides recommendations for each country.
- Preserve important records off-site for easy, remote access.
- Monitor news coverage and public health information ongoing.
Remember that your NAWBO community is here to support you! We will continue to offer valuable information, resources and tips if we face wider spread that impacts our community of women business owners.
Also, please note that at this time, we are continuing with our events as scheduled. Should anything change, we will let you know.