COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.
If a member of staff has symptoms of the virus, they are advised to call the NHS Helpline on 111 – do not go to a GP or A&E. They should immediately self isolate.
If someone has returned after travelling to one of the known areas where there has been an outbreak they are advised to self isolate for 14 days, even if not showing any symptoms. The incubation period is 14 days so if the person remains well after this time they have not caught the virus.
Self isolation means staying at home. The individual should not go to work, to the shops or socialise. Keep in regular contact over the phone with any staff that need to self isolate to monitor symptoms.
If a member of staff shows symptoms in the workplace, move them to a private area at least 2m away from other people while they use a mobile to call 111. Ask them to avoid touching surfaces whilst obtaining advice about what to do next. Follow advice given and no further action (such as shutting down your centre) is suggested whilst awaiting the outcome of any tests. So far, most suspected cases have been negative (according to www.gov.uk on 5th March 2020).
If anyone who works or visits your centre tests positive for COVID-19, a local Health Protection Team will be in touch.
Speak to your HR advisor about any further queries you may have with staff self isolating.
Advise all staff on how to prevent the spread of infection: cover mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, immediately throw the tissue away, clean hands thoroughly with soap and water and use an alcohol based sanitiser. Anyone preparing or serving food and handling cash should pay particular attention. Sanitise handles and phones as well as surfaces regularly.
Encourage climbers to wash hands before and after climbing. Everyone should be reminded not to touch their mouths or eyes if their hands aren’t clean.
The affected areas are changing daily so try to make informed decisions based on the latest information. Consult with professional bodies such as the NHS, World Health Organisation or Public Health England and check back regularly for updates.
Contingency planning note from Rich & Kath:
Corona Contingency Planning
With the impact of Corona Virus growing daily, we thought we should share some ideas on want to include in your contingency planning. If you’ve already got to them, good on you. If you haven’t we hope this helps…
It’s now very clear that the virus is going to become much more widespread in the UK and that the government will take whatever action they think is appropriate to slow down and eventually eradicate its spread. Many of these actions will be taken with little notice. In our view the impact could vary from a small drop off in your visitor numbers to compulsory closure if, for example your area is quarantined.
There will be two priorities for you as you build your contingency plan: Communicating with customers and reducing the rate at which your cash is going out of the business.
- How can you protect customers – is encouraging hand washing enough?
- What’s your policy on cancellation of courses – what do you have in the terms and conditions that people signed up to?
- How will you handle requests from pre-paid members to put their membership on hold? What conditions did they sign up to?
- What will you do with monthly paying members if you have to close down? Again it’s essential to know what they signed up to.
- How will you treat school groups, or anyone else, with term long bookings?
REDUCING CASH OUTFLOW
- Talk to your insurers about your Business Interruption Cover.
- Do you have any loans you can pause repayments on easily e.g. director loans? If you can, do it immediately.
- What will it take to pause other loans or finance that you have – all the banks and funders will be expecting calls and will be planning their responses.
- Choose when to speak to your bank about a loan to tie you over, with care. Make sure that you know what the problems are that you’re facing and that you have already done the obvious things.
- Have you put a stop on spending on anything other than essentials? Money saved in the next month could be a real help in two months time.
- Rent – can you negotiate a short term reduction in your rent?
- What will you do with staff if you have to close down? What do your contracts say? Speak to a good HR consultant who will be able to explore options with you.
- Could you ask staff to take holiday or unpaid leave?
- Can you reduce your staff costs?
- Over the next 6-12 months it’s all going to be about cash flow. If you haven’t already got one, build a spreadsheet model of your cash. Make sure you can look at different scenarios – lower income, closure etc. If you don’t know how to build a model like this, speak to your accountant.
If you have anything to add to this list then please do contribute your thoughts or experiences. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich and Kath.