LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) ― The Health Policy Board of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) on Thursday called on all private and public employers in the state to adopt five precautions against the spread of COVID-19, including requiring all employees, customers, and visitors to wear face coverings in shared spaces while inside.
“Voluntary adoption by employers of these five precautions, in addition to following all of the Arkansas Department of Health’s general and business-specific directives, will further strengthen Arkansas’s public health response to COVID-19,” said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson. “Fighting the spread of this disease requires changes in our behavior, and not enough of us are making the necessary changes. We call on employers to step up and do more than the minimum to ensure that their places of business are not COVID-19 transmission zones.”
The board’s statement reads:
“The ACHI Health Policy Board’s position is that employers have an obligation to help achieve control of the COVID-19 pandemic, protect individuals, and minimize economic hardships in the state. All entities subject to the Arkansas Department of Health’s public health directives – including business-specific directives such as those for gyms, bars, and restaurants and general directives such as those for all businesses, manufacturers, and construction companies – should comply with those directives at a minimum. In addition, all public, private, and nonprofit entities that are not otherwise subject to a business-specific directive should adopt the following additional reasonable precautions in an effort to protect themselves from potential liability and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others including their own employees:
· Require employees, customers, and visitors to wear face coverings in shared spaces while inside;
· Screen all employees for potential COVID-19 exposure and symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell as they are entering the facility at the beginning of work;
· Make verbal announcements and post signage including signs for non-English speakers that encourage proper face covering placement, hand hygiene, and coughing and sneezing etiquette;
· Establish and make available to the public written COVID-19 protocols for protection of employees, customers, and visitors; and
· Regularly monitor and assess compliance for necessary changes to existing practices based on available peer-reviewed evidence and public health guidance.
ACHI is a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy, and collaborative program development. The Health Policy Board is its governing body.”