Friday, July 23, 2021

Austin Enters Stage 4 of COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines



Austin Public Health announced Austin-Travis County is currently in Stage 4 of COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines. The Risk-Based Guidelines for Austin-Travis County are not changes to local rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines and recommendations for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community. 

The level of risk for contracting COVID-19 in Austin-Travis County continues to increase, especially among unvaccinated individuals as confirmed cases have dramatically risen over the past two weeks. The 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions crossed the threshold of over 30 admissions per day marking progression to Stage 4 this week.   

- Veronica Briseño, City of Austin Chief Economic Recovery Officer 

Stage 4 Recommendations for Employers

Fully vaccinated individuals should wear a mask when participating in indoor private gatherings, traveling, and dining or shopping, and should wear a mask for outdoor gatherings, if they are unable to socially distance.  

Partially or unvaccinated individuals should avoid private gatherings, travel, dining and shopping unless essential. Wear a mask when conducting essential activities.  

Protecting Your Employees  

  • To ensure adequate distancing between staff in communal areas, consider limiting in-store and on-site capacity and reduce capacity in enclosed spaces like elevators.  

  • Encourage all employees to become fully vaccinated and grant paid time off for employees to become vaccinated.   

  • Encourage all employees to wear face masks and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees.  

  • Instruct employees with COVID-19 symptoms or who have contacted someone with COVID-19 symptoms to notify their supervisor and stay home.  

  • Frequently disinfect and clean throughout the day, especially high touch areas like door handles, registers, checkout lanes, public restrooms, and employee break rooms.  

Protecting Your Customers and Our Community  

  • Encourage all customers to wear face masks and post clearly visible signage for your businesses' mask policy. 

  • To ensure adequate distancing between customers, consider limiting in-store and on-site capacity and reduce capacity in enclosed spaces like elevators.  

  • Provide touchless hand sanitizer stations and no-touch trash cans for customers.   

  • Frequently disinfect and clean throughout the day, especially high touch areas like door handles, registers, checkout lanes, and public restrooms, dressing rooms.  

  • Provide drive-through services, click-and-collect online shopping, shop-by-phone, curbside pickup, and delivery options where feasible.  

Seven Tips to Prepare for Changing Conditions   

  1. Be prepared to change business practices in order to maintain critical operations.   

  1. Identify alternative suppliers for critical goods and services.   

  1. Share best practices with other employees in your community.   

  1. Prioritize job functions to ensure continuous operations.   

  1. Formalize best practices based on lessons learned since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

  1. Ensure redundancy among your employees/workforce in case absenteeism spikes.   

  1. Deliver services remotely (e.g., web, phone, video).   
     

Reporting COVID-19 Infections and Deaths    

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to record work-related cases of COVID-19 illness on OSHA's Form 300 logs if the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, the case is work-related, and the case involves one or more relevant recording criteria (e.g., medical treatment, days away from work). Visit OSHA's website for more information.



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