July 14, 2020
As we move into the middle of summer, it’s apparent that COVID-19 does not diminish in warmer weather similar to the flu virus. In fact, as we’ve re-opened our economy cases have spiked with more people testing positive and additional hospitalizations occurring across the country.
St Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, Joplin, and Fayetteville AR have all implemented masking ordinances to slow the transmission of the virus. Twenty-one states have implemented mask ordinances requiring their citizens to wear masks in public places. Both the CDC and OSHA recommend masking in public and employment settings.
On Monday, July 13, 2020, the City of Springfield passed an ordinance requiring masks in public and retail settings.
The newly passed ordinance, effective Thursday, July 16th, for ninety days, requires face coverings over the nose and mouth for all persons over the age of 11. Persons with health conditions, breathing problems, or people consuming food or drinking are granted exceptions from the ordinance.
Other exceptions include playing sports, exercising, swimming at a pool or being outdoors as long as you physically distance (6 feet).
Here’s where masks must be worn:
- Personal Care Businesses (such as hair and nail salons, massage therapists and tattoo artists)
- Retail Businesses
- Restaurants (except when eating and drinking)
- Sports Spectators (outdoors is exempted if physical distancing of 6 feet is maintained)
- Weddings (Wedding party exempted for ceremony and pictures)
- Special Events
All of the above listed businesses must still limit occupancy, most at 35 people or 50% (sq ft/30 x 50%), whichever is greater. Lastly, violations are subject to a $100 fine for a business but exempts them for persons (customers) who refuse to comply. Individuals are subject to a $100 fine for violations (per day).
In complete transparency, I personally do not like wearing a mask. They are hot and fog up my glasses. I especially don’t like the government mandating that we must wear them. What even makes it worse are the activists on both sides of the issue shaming and blaming others who don’t believe in their way of thinking.
After reviewing dozens of studies, white papers, and articles here is where I’ve landed:
Masking is controversial, uncomfortable and “imperfect”. If all of us wearing one in a public setting may reduce the likelihood of some being infected, it’s a sacrifice that’s worth the turmoil, inconvenience, and infringement on our rights. If the policy in any way allows the economy to remain open and recover it’s certainly worth the effort.
Businesses ultimately need to establish their own policies and protocols around masking, contact tracing, infection, and safety. We respect all perspectives; however, we favor leaning towards caution, prudence, and safety.
No penalty PTO for COVID-like symptoms, business contact tracing logs, and masking in public places are all items that Ollis/Akers/Arney implemented in our company to protect our staff, clients, and community. We don’t take these decisions lightly and believe that every business has unique circumstances. Our human resources consultants have crafted many different policies and protocols, depending on each unique situation.
If you need advice or suggestions we are ready and able to help. Whether you’re working on safety, human resources, or infection protocols – we can help you with options and make recommendations based on your unique situation.
Regardless of your perspective or situation, know that we care and want the very best for you. We are now back in our office locations in Branson, Bolivar, and Springfield. Our staff is rotating days in the office and working remotely to provide uninterrupted service. It looks like we’re going to continue our battle with COVID – being prepared and having a plan always produces better results.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors
OllisAkersArney.com | 417-881-8333