2020 has exited the building but unfortunately COVID-19 has not. It’s a new year and it's always better to go forward with positive thoughts and plans for a better 2021. Yes; this is what we need to do but we also need to be wise and realistic as COVID-19 remains present and has not lost any strength at this point. Unfortunately 2021 is served with a side of COVID-19.
This weekend a family member told me she had taken her holiday themed masks and was about to throw them away saying, “I won’t need these for this coming holiday season” and then quickly pulled them out of the trash following with “well maybe I do." This is our reality right now, but it can change.
It’s not all doom and gloom as vaccines are currently being distributed to our front-line workers and those at most risk. At some point there will be an option for everyone to be vaccinated if they choose to be. We cannot put all our eggs in one basket though; the vaccine will help slow but will not stop the spread entirely. There will be people who cannot take the vaccine for medical, religious, or personal reasons and we have an entire country to take care of so this is not a quick fix. Please view the NH DHHS Covid-19 Vaccination Allocation Plan for detailed information about vaccination distribution.
We have to continue to be vigilant with mask use, social distancing, hygiene practices, and being smart about who and wear we spend our time. Here are some reminders on how to continue to do our part to slow the spread and eventually stop COVID-19:
- Employers should continue to screen employees and customers everyday before they come into work and remind all your employees of the importance of continuing to adhere to the screening guidelines. This is a simple and easy tool.
- Have proper signage for customers before they enter your business that allows them to self-screen prior to entering. Offer them a number to call in so they can do business at a safe distance if needed.
- Wear your mask! At this time, we have a mask mandate for a reason; masks help slow the spread. Remind employees of the importance of adhering to mask use. If an employee doesn’t wear one speak to them, remind them of the need to wear one and possible consequences/disciplinary action. The risk to other employees and customers is too great to let this slide.
- Have masks on hand at the entrance to your business to provide to customers who may not have one.
- Continue to adhere to social distancing in the workplace. We all miss a good group chat at the water cooler but this is a sacrifice we need to make. By limiting close contact as much as possible, you reduce the likelihood of office transmission in the case that one employee tests positive.
- Talk to your employees about safe practices outside of work as what they do in their off time can potentially affect your business. Encourage employees to limit travel, remind them to keep their social circles small. The more time spent out and about in stores, restaurants and other public places increases your risk of getting COVID-19. Some data shows that asymptomatic people may be more contagious than symptomatic people so it is essential to be careful around people you don’t know.
- Remember we take these precautions, adhere to guidelines, follow recommendations not just for ourselves but for our family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. You never know who is at risk out there. It could be the woman you passed at the grocery store with a sick child at home. It could be your coworker who goes to assist an elderly parent each night. Or, the customer you just assisted is immunocompromised. You just don't know.
We have to hang in there and do our very best to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. NHADA continues to keep up on “All Things COVID” and we have online support as well as staff ready to help you with any questions you may have. We can assist you with general questions, what to do if there is a positive case at home or in the workplace, and have the resources to refer you to if we don’t have the answer for you.
Please continue to stay safe and well. We all need to do our part to help put an end to this pandemic.