The last two years have been hard. COVID-19 swept the world and changed everything about how we live, shop, work, and go to school for months on end. And each time it feels like we are approaching some sort of return to normalcy, there’s a new variant to worry about. If you feel like you’ve spent the last two years in an emotional wave pool, you’re not alone. The best thing we can do whenever a new variant rears its head is to learn all we can and try to get in front of it with strong cleaning practices and PPE policies. Read on to learn more about Omicron.
With each new variant, we enter a wait-and-see phase where scientists work to understand how this variant differs from the original strain and the other variants that have come before. Specifically, they study aspects like severity and transmissibility. They also study to see how the vaccines protect against the new variant. Once we have a clearer picture of Omicron, it will be easier to say what new steps we need to implement to protect people in the workplace.
Old Steps Are Still Good Steps
In the meantime, the policies and procedures that we’ve had in place continue to be good practices. These include rigorous cleaning procedures, wearing masks indoors, and social distancing by at least 6 feet. Being vaccinated and boosted are also important, as is regular testing. As a business owner, you can do your part by either mandating or facilitating these steps. Many places aren’t ready to fully mandate vaccination for employees, but you could provide paid time off for people to get the vaccine or for regular testing, or even pay for testing or set up vaccine clinics onsite with local health departments. You may also ensure that you’re providing adequate space for social distancing, allowing remote work when possible, and providing PPE, like masks.
Looking ahead, we can’t predict exactly where Omicron will take us, but the possibilities are clear. Seeing more vaccine mandates in workplaces is likely, especially if this new variant is blocked by the current vaccine. In offices where remote work is possible, continuing to delay a full return to the office is both likely and wise. Finally, regardless of vaccination status, it is possible that more business will require periodic testing.
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