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Employees with coronavirus don't automatically mean businesses must close

 Businesses don't automatically have to close if an employee gets coronavirus.
Businesses don't automatically have to close if an employee gets coronavirus. (WJRT)
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 7:03 PM EDT
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(6/26/2020) - Open one day, closed the next.

COVID-19 is changing the way every single business operates.

Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz explained the guidelines and protocols in place should an employee or customer come down with the virus as the state continues to reopen.

"We've had one instance where the business closed down," he said. "It was a restaurant/bar, and they did so voluntarily."

There have been plenty of other spots in the state where spikes of COVID-19 have been reported, including businesses.

"A lot of questions we get are should I close, do I have to send my staff home, do I need to do a deep clean," Strasz said.

Each situation is entirely unique and a variety of factors come into play.

"First and foremost, we need to find out what type of business this is, and then we need to find out too -- we do an interview with the confirmed positive case to find out who their close contacts are," Strasz said.

He said people who are symptomatic and have spent more time in close proximity to others increases the risk of spreading the virus.

So businesses don't automatically have to close if an employee comes down with the virus. But if more and more employees become sick, the health department is prepared to step in.

"If it's necessary as a licensing authority, we can close down a business for a short period of time," Strasz said. "We try not to do that. We always try to work with the business."

To avoid that possibility, he advises businesses not to let their guard down when it comes to social distancing, masks and cleanliness.

"We've reopened a lot of our sectors of the economy. We can keep those open if we keep the mitigation standards in effect," Strasz said.

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