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The Delta variant of coronavirus has quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Delta can cause a more severe form of COVID-19, spreading more efficiently than the original strain. Faster transmission can mean greater concern for employers, especially those with unvaccinated workers.
Protecting employees from Delta will take a concerted effort from employers. It may require adapting to or creating new policies as informed by the latest official recommendations and taking an approach that makes sense to their organization.
Pandemic information continues to be updated as things change. Right now, the CDC strongly encourages wearing masks in those areas with a “high level” of community transmission. Currently that is 70% of the country.
Employers should continue to monitor federal and local guidance and tailor their workplace responses to the Delta variant based on their unique circumstances.
Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to combat coronavirus. Even if an organization is hesitant to require vaccinations, it should still consider encouraging them for the sake of employee safety. Nearly all of the COVID-19 deaths since May 2021 have been among the unvaccinated.
Employers should continue to maintain preventative measures or readopt them since the Delta variant can still be spread by and potentially infect the fully vaccinated. This includes things like:
- Mask wearing
- Social distancing
- Routine surface testing
- Capacity limitations
- Antibody testing
In addition to measures aimed at preventing the spread of Delta, workplace modifications may also need to be made. This may include:
- Improving ventilation
- Installing transparent partitions
- Moving workstations for social distancing
With the number of Delta infections rising, employers may need to continue to or readopt some accommodations for workers including:
- Providing more time off
- Allowing telework
- Offering flexible scheduling
- Giving employees more mental health resources
Communication is important to any successful workplace strategy. Employers should make sure they are communicating effectively to employees at all stages when combatting the spread of Delta. They may consider:
- Providing resources to help employees stay safe at work
- Communicate new workplace protocols such as mask wearing or shift staggering
Be Ready to Adapt
Delta is the latest, most serious coronavirus variant; however, it will not be the last. Employers should continue to monitor the latest health guidance and prepare to adapt when necessary.
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This blog is intended to be a compilation of information and resources pulled from federal, state, and local agencies. This is not intended to be legal advice. For up to the minute information and guidance on COVID-19, please follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local health organizations.
National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.