Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today unveiled a new feature of the COVID-19 Risk Dial specifically designed for businesses. Located on the Business Resources page at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov, the color-coded dial now provides general guidance for businesses on how to operate in light of the current COVID-19 risk level in the community, as well as workplace-specific guidance and guidance for protecting at-risk and vulnerable employees and customers. The dial will be updated every Friday.
“If there’s anything that the virus has demonstrated, it is that we are connected in more ways than we can imagine, and the seemingly small actions of one person – for good or ill – can reverberate in large measure throughout the community,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said. “This is especially true for businesses and the many customers, employees, and individuals that comprise them. This new feature will help businesses navigate the pandemic by providing guidance on how to operate more safely in light of local health conditions.”
Drawing on a range of national and local guidance from experts and businesses alike, the dial includes general guidance for businesses, workplace-specific guidance, and guidance for protecting at-risk and vulnerable customers and employees in the following strategy areas:
- Physical Distancing, which involves limiting close, prolonged contact with others. In light of the current risk level, businesses are encouraged to review their operations and determine how they can best ensure physical separation among employees and customers to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Engineering Controls, which involves creating physical barriers, installing equipment, and using technology to reduce the frequency and intensity of close contact between people. This may include, for example, employing rigid sheets of clear plastic to protect cashiers and customers and using “no-touch” technology systems for credit cards.
- Administrative Controls, which involves training employees and implementing procedures that reduce transmission of COVID-19. This may include, for example, staggering shift change times to minimize close interaction and training staff in effective hand washing and disinfection practices.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which involves utilizing protective clothing or equipment to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as cloth face coverings and disposable gloves.
“We developed a comprehensive strategy that can be easily used by small and large businesses of all kinds, ranging from our largest manufacturers to small retail shops,” said Scott Holmes, Manager of Environmental Public Health at LLCHD. “By applying these strategies, our local businesses can reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, and protect their employees, customers, and our community.”
Mayor Gaylor Baird invited representatives from Kawasaki Motors and Q.P. Ace Hardware to speak about the practices they have adopted in the areas of physical distancing, engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE. She noted that both businesses have their taken responsibility as employers very seriously by demonstrating a strong commitment to public health.
Gaylor Baird thanked them and other businesses for serving the interests of not only their shareholders, but also their customers, suppliers, employees, and the broader community. She encouraged businesses to check the COVID-19 Risk Dial business guidance on a regular basis and to contact LLCHD if they have questions about how to operate more safely.
More information on COVID-19 and the City’s response is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. The website includes information on how those with symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested in Lincoln.