Hopefully, this communication is premature and reading it is a waste of your time. With that said, we have been watching the number of COVID cases steadily increasing in the past few weeks and reading about concerns from community health experts. We are also seeing some parts of the country such as Los Angeles County again mandating masks for public indoor settings. On Monday, Wall Street took notice as well over fears of another spike, and the market took the worse hit since October of 2020.
A few things to keep in mind with Delta:
· It is more contagious than the other virus strains
· Unvaccinated people are at the highest risk
· Delta could lead to ‘hyperlocal outbreaks’
· There is a lot yet to learn about Delta
· Vaccination is the best protection against it
What Employers Should Consider
We are encouraging our clients to “hope for the best but plan for the worst” if there is another nationwide spike. Here are some things to begin to think about if the numbers continue to trend upward:
· The prospect of Delta and other variants may deepen the tension between those who are vaccinated and those who are not. Employers must intervene to prevent any harassing behavior to prevent poor morale and employee turnover.
· Employees may be required to wear masks again. As you know, this is a very controversial subject but if the numbers go south again, it could happen. Employers may also want to again require non-vaccinated employees to wear masks to control spread if numbers continue to trend up.
· Employers should continue to encourage employees to get vaccinated as this is the best way to control the virus. Consider conducting on-site vaccine clinics and give financial incentives to get vaccinated. Employees should also get a booster when one comes available.
· If schools go back to virtual learning, partial school days and/or daycare centers close, prepare for a Plan B for employees with young children as they likely will not have viable childcare options.
· We have been hoping/praying that when the $300/week enhanced unemployment kicker expires in September, many employees will have to return to work thus softening the labor crises. Although I have no evidence to prove my theory, if history repeats itself, it is conceivable that the UC benefit could again be extended.
· Don’t let down your guard on cleaning and sanitation protocols. Now may be the time to stock up on cleaning supplies and materials essential to your operations to avoid supply chain issues.
For additional information on how the Delta Variant could affect your workplace or for everything else HR, contact Tom Hubric at: firstname.lastname@example.org.