While news of at least two highly effective covid-19 vaccines, approved for emergency use by the FDA and already in distribution throughout the. U.S, is exciting, the likely impact on employee vulnerability and business rebounds is, by all accounts, a long way off. In fact, there is concern that ‘covid frustration’, an ‘enough is enough’ attitude, and relaxing vigilance could have a quick negative impact before the longer-term protections are in place.
Additionally, possible Congressional regulation about the responsibility of employers or even businesses recently visited by newly infected individuals, keeps American business owners and executives nervous about potential liabilities arising from hard-to-disprove claims. One way for businesses to stay open and minimize these risks is by documented and strict adherence to CDC guidelines. The most recent updates as of this writing, can be found here. This site documents recommendations and requirements by industry and class of employee, especially with respect to vulnerabilities.
Information more specific to the Montana landscape – vulnerability by specific populations, changes/locations of confirmed cases, current regulation – can be found here. However, for the MT employer, many questions and variations remain and change quickly. The Montana chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has linked this site for Montana employer concerns around the pandemic; we’ve attached a comprehensive chart for appropriate responses to a variety of situations that may arise from covid in your workplace.
Now, with all that said, it’s obvious this is a fast-changing situation and, in addition to the enormous social, health and economic impacts already endured, more will come. As an example, it’s likely the next Presidential administration will have a different approach to covid and social responsibility than has the outgoing administration: appropriate behaviors in the workplace, support for struggling industries, unemployment benefits, proof of vaccination are just a few that will require an employer’s awareness and vigilance to ensure continued safety and viability. To stay up to date and on the safe side of the law (and good health!) we have posted a few of our recent trainings about employer covid responsiveness on our site, here. Of course, we also have access to resources that might be updated more frequently than the training so please: never hesitate to give us a call for the latest on Montana health and safety.