COVID related conversations are never easy. Especially when there is a positive case in the workplace. Fears and anxieties will be high. There will be lots of questions. And employees and customers alike will want answers at the ready. With so much sensitive information involved, having a clear, confident and empathetic talk track is a must. To help you out, here’s a few guidelines and sample scripts to get you started.
Sample conversation: “John, I know that this is a scary thing to deal with. I understand that you may not be able to work for a little while or that you might be a little distracted. Don’t worry about that, I understand. If you have to miss work because your healthcare provider recommends that you isolate, please keep me posted. I know you might be concerned about your paycheck but there are paid leave benefits that you may qualify for under the Families First COronavirus Response Act. ”
Sample conversation: “Someone in our workplace has tested positive for COVID-19, and they have identified you as a close contact according to the CDC definition. We are here to support you. If you are at work, please prepare to leave as quickly as you can. Once you get home, please talk to your doctor to see if you need to get tested or self-quarantine and monitor yourself for symptoms.”
Sample announcement to employees:
Aloha, We learned [today] that one of our employees has tested positive for/contracted COVID-19. The person who tested positive on [date] is now [self-isolating]. [Identify the area(s) where and the date(s) when the employee frequently worked].
Due to privacy laws, we cannot identify the employee who tested positive for the virus. However, we have gathered the names of those employees or others that worked in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) of the employee and have been advised to leave the workplace and seek medical advice from their healthcare provider on next steps. If you were not already told you were in close contact, then you have not worked in close proximity with the employee.
At [Company Name], the health and well-being of our employees is paramount. Out of an abundance of caution, we are closing the [Location] office on [Dates]. While the office is closed, we will clean and disinfect the [Location] office. All [Location] employees with remote work capabilities are expected to work from home while the office is closed. Each employee should consult with their manager for additional instructions.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact [Company Contact]. The company is here to support everyone during this difficult time, and we all send our best wishes to the people affected. You may also check the CDC COVID-19 website for additional information, and also check out Hawaii’s health department website.
Sample customer email:
Aloha, [Company A] has operated during these uncertain times with tremendous regard for the health and welling of our employees and customers. We’ve required all customers and employees to [list safety precautions taken].
Despite our best efforts to provide a safe environment, we have just been informed that one of our employees at [Location] has tested positive for COVID-19 on [Date]. We believe it’s our responsibility to inform you because it is only through complete transparency that our community can combat this pandemic and start on our road to economic recovery.
Here’s what you need to know:
The employee in question worked last week in [Location] from [Date to Date].
The employee’s last shift was [Date]. The employee was feeling unwell on [Date], and got tested [Date]. We were informed [Date] that the employee has tested positive. If you feel that you have been exposed, we encourage you to seek the advice of a healthcare provider to determine whether you need to be tested.
What is being done:
Having one of our employees tested positive for COVID-19 is something we worked very hard to prevent and hoped would never happen. Nevertheless, it is a huge reminder for all of us to be vigilant by wearing masks, socially distancing, and following recommended safety precautions to protect our families, co-workers, and community. We thank you for your patience and continued support during this pandemic.