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Guidance & Information Sources Regarding COVID-19

The news is currently flooded with discussions of COVID-19. It takes a discerning mind to sift through social media posts and separate fact from fiction.
   
As HR professionals we are center stage for helping employers navigate its effects on employees and businesses. Our companies, co-workers and families are depending on us for well thought out guidance to stay calm and keep our communities safe. 

RESOURCES
Here are some dependable resources to help you as you develop that guidance. 

Chapter President, Mary Ames-Smith advises us to keep up-to-date with information from the CDC. You can find their updates and guidance page here.

This is an excellent first place to turn for help and updates. Here is a link with guidance from the EEOC and a link from the DOL on FMLA updates.

SHRM also has a page dedicated to information about Communicable Diseases and COVID-19. Check out their page here for the latest information and guidance from SHRM HQ.

Individual states and localities are also issuing community guidance and here are links to local information affecting the Greater St. Louis community.

Greater St. Louis Area Local Resources
  • Current information for the City of St. Louis can be found here
  • Current information for St. Louis County is located here
  • St. Louis City and County currently have the quickest changing situations, but all of the counties surrounding St. Louis are working together as well. You can find specific information for St. Charles County here, Jefferson County here, and Franklin County here.
  • Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services is here. 
  • Illinois Department of Public Health is located here. 
  • The Chicago Tribune seems to have the easiest to find information on public restrictions such as restrictions closing bars and restaurants. You can access their page here for the latest updates. 

Each location has restrictions on the size of public gatherings and sometimes business operations. 

This is a fluid situation and you should check each of these sources on a frequent basis for updates you as employers need to know. 

It's also important to remember that community members are also choosing to close some businesses, events or otherwise change some operations beyond those required. You may want to call ahead and verify operations at any business you plan to visit. 

INSIGHTS FROM OUR BUSINESS PARTNERS
Several of our member's and business partners are also publishing helpful guidance. Here are some you may find helpful.

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete share a brief explanation of what COVID-19 is and reinforce some safety tips. However, they also provide some insight regarding FMLA and ADA as it relates to the current situation. They are also updating the page as changes occur. You can check out their newsletter here.

Our Premier Partner, Ogletree Deakins provide us this insight as to the effects of COVID-19 and adherence to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and HIPPA for protecting personal information. They also specifically mention employee personal travel and communicating with staff after a member has tested positive for the virus. You can read their article here.

As a friendly reminder, the legal insights these articles provide are general in nature. For specific legal advice on your company and situation, your company needs to call your legal team.

President-Elect Ben Houseman shares some insights on potential economic impacts of the health-related crisis. His bottom line is that concern is natural, and the markets may be volatile for a little while, but it's important that we don't overreact. Here's a link to his article.

CLOSING THOUGHTS
This is a trying time for all of us. It's important to take a deep breath and make a moment to think. 

Things will be uncertain for a little while, but we can help our co-workers, families and communities. Use the resources mentioned above, especially the CDC and SHRM to stay informed. Reach out to each other for support. 

While the situation is serious, it's important to remember we "Lead with Passion and Serve with Purpose."