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Coronavirus: A Wake-Up Call For Pittsburgh Employers

Maria Scapellato
90.5 WESA

As COVID-19 continues to spread, local employers are considering how best to protect employees, customers and business operations. Eric Fair, the manager for IT and risk advisory practices at Pittsburgh-based Schneider Downs, said that many organizations are already enhancing cleaning policies at work sites and limiting business travel.

“They are determining whether employee travel and client meetings are necessary based on the location, and in the event that a conference is scheduled in a high-risk area, does it make sense to send an employee there?” Fair said.

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Pittsburgh area, but local governments, health departments, hospital systems, schools and other institutions are actively preparing for its arrival.

Fair pointed to tech companies like Google, which earlier this week asked all North American employees to work from home. But Fair acknowledged that's not an option for many people in manufacturing, retail, hospitality or similar sectors.

“Where you have workers front and center, you need them to be at these locations to either produce products or be in stores to serve customers,” Fair said.

Fair compiled a list of recommendations for employers to follow in the midst of the outbreak to keep employees safe while keeping their operations up and running. He said communication is key.

“Making employees understand that employers are trying to limit their risk exposure is important," he said. "For example, I’ve seen organizations create email accounts to allow inquiries to be submitted for Q&A.”

Follow up-to-the-minute updates from the WESA newsroom regarding the coronavirus in Pennsylvania here.

Maria Gabriel Scapellato began her radio career at a commercial radio station in Harrisburg in 1985. Later, she moved to WITF 89.5 FM as the local host of All Things Considered, returning to Pittsburgh in 1992, where she has since worked in both radio and television at various Pittsburgh stations as a general assignment reporter. Originally from West Mifflin in the Mon Valley, she studied Journalism at West Virginia University.
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