The COVID-19 crisis has changed the dynamics of many policies and operations on a global scale. Many corporations have had to make extremely tough emergency decisions with normal operations and employment. Since the outbreak, companies have had to act quickly to combat business in affected communities. Here are a few key categories that reflect major business policy changes since the start of COVID-19.
Companies are taking the outbreak seriously by adhering to government recommendations to limit human contact by distancing and quarantining those who may be experiencing flu symptoms. Policies from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) include:
- Employees who have symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay at home.
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.
- Sick employees should follow CDC recommendations and not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
- The CDC has advised that employers follow specific guidelines to reduce exposure risk.
Larger retail companies have set standards to continue paying employees who contract the coronavirus to receive two weeks or pay. After two weeks, all associates, regardless of employment status, up to 26 weeks pay.
The U.S. education system has also seen extreme changes since the Coronavirus outbreak. In attempts to stop the spread, K-12 schools and universities have ceased all classes until government clearance has passed. Calls have been made for U.S. students studying abroad to return to U.S. soil immediately and until further notice. Online courses and at-home learning options are emerging to keep education flowing. The New York State Department of Health, amongst many other organizations, have partnered with hospitals nationwide to expand testing and assist with supply aid. Also, there are emerging concerns that students who rely on school provided meal programs will not receive proper nutritional support. Because of this, the Department of Agriculture has authorized schools to offer to-go meals and/or expand programs to continue offering meals as an option for families in need.
Along with the crippling of education and employment statistics, businesses have stepped up to do what’s necessary for their customers during these challenging circumstances. The airline business is, arguably, the most affected by COVID-19 policy changes. The majority of airline companies are waving all change fees booked in March and can be applied for travel at later dates. Delta Airlines for example, is waiving change fees for all international flights booked between March 1st and 31st, as well as no fee changes to all domestic flights through April 30th as long as the tickets were issued on or before March 9th.