COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
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Should I implement procedures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19? Yes, you should. Check out some of these resources for more information on how to prepare your workplace: OSHA Guidance, ...
Are there any dealerships locking the doors to the public and working from within? Many dealerships are modifying operations. Some have simply implemented safety procedures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Some have closed the doors to the public, but are still servicing their customers. It is up to you to determine what is best for your customers and your business operations.
If an employee is showing symptoms of COVID-19 and stays home, can I require a Coronavirus test result to verify that it is COVID-19? In terms of verifying illness, testing for COVID-19 is not widely available, thus, the CDC has not made a recommendation to employers that they require verification. Health screenings are permissible under both EEOC and CDC guidance to evaluate employees for symptoms. According to the EEOC’s guidance, “During a pandemic, ADA-covered employers may ask such employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, these include symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.” See the CDC’s Guidance for more information and the EEOC’s guidance on appropriate inquiries in the case of a pandemic.
Are we required to close for 14 days if we have an employee test positive? The CDC does not require closure. Research each state's orders. State and local laws may be different. You should verify your response and action plan with your attorney.
Is an employer required to report an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 to local health department officials? CDC Guidance recommends employers engage in such communication but state and local laws may also apply. You should verify your response and action plan with your attorney.
What about employee gossip or obvious absences in small operations? How can we protect an employee’s identity? The ADA requires confidentiality. You cannot prevent gossip but the identity of the employee should not be disclosed or confirmed.
We have reason to suspect that an employee was exposed to COVID-19 (recently came back from travel, attended a large group gathering, was informed that they were in extended-contact with a positive COVID-19 case, etc.), but symptoms are not apparent. Can we ask that employee to stay home even though they are showing no symptoms? ...
How do we handle employees who have a family member with a cough or cold, etc? Are they obligated or should we require them to stay home for 14 days? Such facts are common in the current environment and require the use of judgment. Dealers should review available CDC Guidance and consult with their legal counsel about such a determination. Remember, in terms of verifying illness, testing for COVID-19 is not widely available, thus the CDC has not made a recommendation to employers that they should require verification.
Can we take the temperatures of all employees coming into our dealership? Do we have to keep records of body temperature? Yes, you may take the temperatures of ALL employees. Any records created must be maintained in compliance with the ADA. Review the CDC and EEOC’s Guidance for more information.
How does COVID-19 spread? The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The virus travels through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick? People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Can someone contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface or object? It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath
The Governor issued a "Stay at Home" Executive Order in effect until April 10th. Do I have to close my dealership? No, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a Guidance on what businesses/workers are considered "essential to critical infrastructure," which the state of Minnesota incorporated into the Executive Order. Provisions exist within the Guidance which, from Pioneer EDA's interpretation, exclude certain farm and construction equipment workers.
- The farm equipment exemption states, "Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary for agricultural production and distribution."
- The construction equipment exemption states, "Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, bicycles, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers."