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Worst-Case Scenario: What to do if an Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Published April 2, 2020


You’ve managed to keep your doors open, keep employees on the payroll, and to service the customers who are coming through your doors. Then the unthinkable happens: one of your employees tests positive for the coronavirus. What do you do now? As an employer, it’s important to show full support for your employee during these harrowing times. But there are also practical measures that can be implemented right away, and some sound guidelines that employers can fall back on to help make the right decisions and protect the health and well-being of everyone involved. The common thread with good crisis management is planning ahead. That involves:

  1. Determining what your actions will be
  2. Determining who needs to know
  3. Determining what to say

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides online resources like Guidance for Business. The CDC’s page outlines how to “Separate Sick Employees” and “Preparing Workplaces for a COVID-19 Outbreak.” Additionally, the CDC provides cleaning recommendations for businesses, like dealerships, that have suspected or confirmed infections.

From a dealer-specific standpoint, the Hampton Roads Automobile Dealers Association (HRADA) has issued a guide that outlines what dealers can do from a communications standpoint. Ultimately, NADA recommends that dealers work with their state and local health officials so their actions are informed by timely, accurate, and local expert information. In these coming months ahead, dealers should also plan to refine their business response plans as needed and work with their attorney to address any employment law related issues as they arise, such as workers compensation or emergency paid sick leave.  If the worst-case scenario happens, knowledge, preparation, and early coordination with the right experts can help you be in the best position to respond.