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Tackling the Coronavirus Economic Recovery

Denise Rice is the CEO of Peak Performance and the Manufacturing Consultant to the Tennessee Manufacturers Association. She is a former plant manager with nearly 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry.

I am tired of the phrase “our new normal”, and I refuse to accept it. While the health and economic impacts of the Coronavirus may be stipulating a new reality, we must determine the best operating standards for living and operating in a pandemic. This encompasses both public and workplace responsibilities.

And we are just not there yet.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Mask, No Service

Early in my career, I was lucky enough to work for a plant manager that was outstanding in the area of process control and he was a formidable mentor. Burned into my memory is his plea for me to understand that everything is a process and we need to focus and manage those inputs into the processes. He emphasized this with his example of a horse as a process and we can control the input to the process or choose to work on the outputs. He would ask me, “which end of the horse do you want to work”? Thirty years later and I still have this horse image burned into my mind, it often drives the choices that I make. I definitely want to work at the front end of the horse. I mean who really wants to work at the back end, right? So, what are the inputs that are affecting the Coronavirus cases? We know that proper hand washing and disinfecting, social distancing and wearing a mask will reduce the spread. Why has wearing a mask become such an issue? We wear a shirt and shoes in public for health reasons, we just need to add a mask.

Economic Recovery from Coronavirus
Daily Deaths from Coronavirus in the U.S. with Projections with and without Wearing Masks.

This chart from the IHME (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) shows the daily deaths from coronavirus in the United States. The stay at home orders implemented in late March were successful in slowing the spread and reducing the number of daily deaths from COVID-19. Projections show that by simply wearing a face mask, the number of daily deaths can be further reduced, saving lives and possibly thwart a second economic shutdown. Seems like a small price to pay.

Business leaders need to take action to avoid a second economic shutdown.

After downgrading from Severe status to Elevated status the coronavirus cases are on the rise in the U.S. and our leaders are once again grappling with the balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods. Governors are struggling with having to consider scaling back their reopening efforts. Having another shutdown would be devastating for several industries.

Pandemic Levels: Recent scale back from Severe to Elevated has caused a spike in coronavirus cases causing leaders to re-evaluate the scale back of the reopening plan.

But the decision to save lives or reopen the economy is not a singular decision. In either case, as long as the virus in not under control, businesses will be cautious about spending and investments regardless if the economy is open or not. Business leaders must consider any and all practices that could positively impact the number of coronavirus cases. Worldwide COVID-19 Cases

L: U.S. Daily New Cases; R: U.S. Unemployment Rate

Businesses need to implement health protocols to lower the potential for further community transmission. These protocols include establishing health risk screenings, personal protective equipment, social distancing protocols, cleaning/disinfecting procedures and isolation guidelines. Just as importantly, after these protocols are established, it is necessary to have strong employee communication/education & training and compliance audits.

Peak Performance is offering Healthy Business Training Certifications through state chamber of commerce and state business associations across the U.S. In order to receive the certification, businesses need to complete the Workplace Infectious Disease Prevention Training which is your guide for working in the “new reality,” helping businesses learn how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program provides a framework for operating facilities and office locations with a consistent response and strategy throughout your company, while protecting your employees, customers, suppliers and visitors and making sure everyone stays safe, healthy and confident about your business.

The prevention program was designed with the help of professionals from Human Resources, Health, Safety and Environmental, Operations and Communications, and is your go-to resource for COVID-19 or any other outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic. The program includes a streamlined set of checklists and practical recommendations based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, OSHA and the EEOC. Each company participating will create an individual Infectious Disease Prevention Plan and will increase the knowledge and competence of your teams saving time, preventing mistakes, encouraging independence and autonomy, and ensuring safe workplaces.

The Healthy Business Certification will give your employees, suppliers and customers peace of mind that you are putting their safety and health first. During the 3-hour course you will receive a template in order to build your own site-specific Infectious Disease Prevention plan. Once your plan is complete, businesses need to submit it for approval to receive their certification. Certifications are good for one year and businesses will need to re-certify each year.

Businesses that establish health risk screenings, provide personal protective equipment, implement social distancing protocols, provide cleaning/disinfecting procedures and clear isolation guidelines are choosing to manage the inputs to the process. We have to trust that with good input management, we will achieve improved results. Which end of the horse are you working?

Stay Vigilant. Stay Healthy.

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