“What do I do if one of my employees test positive for COVID-19?” “Do I have to shut down my business if an employee tests positive?” “What to do if my employee tests positive for COVID-19? Will my business be fined if someone is not wearing a mask?”
All businesses should be prepared for the possibility of one of their employees or customers learning that they are COVD-19 positive after visiting their establishment. At the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, we have had a number of inquiries asking what to do if put in this situation.
Our staff reached out to Columbia Boone County Public Health and Human Services for more clarification and specifications of what a business should do if someone were to test positive for COVID-19. PHHS provided a four page flyer answering common questions connected to a COVID-19 positive employee and customer. The flyer also addresses concerns connected to the mask ordinance passed last week on July 6.
Sample questions are:
Do I have to shut down my business if an employee tests positive? Businesses are not required to shut down if a staff member becomes infected with COVID-19. In some cases, if the majority of the staff are identified as a close contact, there may not be enough staff to remain open during the 14-day quarantine period. When a business has an employee test positive for the virus, PHHS may contact the business to discuss and educate on appropriate cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
When should employees be tested if they are deemed to be a close contact? Some businesses may encourage their employees to be tested for COVID-19 if there is an outbreak among their staff but it is recommended that only close contacts of the positive case be tested. Close contacts should be tested between 7-9 days after contact with the known case. Close contacts must quarantine for the entire 14-day quarantine period, even if their test result is negative, as they can become infectious at any time. Testing cost varies by site and insurance coverage. Please inquire about testing costs with the testing facility.