The Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture is partnering with the Matagorda County Economic Development Corporation and the Bay City Community Development Corporation in leading the discussions with area businesses to assist in business continuity plans.
With 109 positive COVID-19 cases, businesses are uncertain about the economic climate at this time.
In keeping with that, a Zoom meeting is planned for Thursday, July 2 at 3 p.m. For more information please call 979-245-8333.
The Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture is concerned for every business in Matagorda County,” said Bay City Chamber President Mitch Thames.
Thames said the purpose of the meeting is to discuss if businesses have a continuity plan in place.
“The situation today with COVID-19 isn’t pretty and it is getting worse. The number of people affected with the virus is growing every day,” Thames said.
Thames said when you think about the 109 active cases, (those who have tested positive and are under a doctor’s care) and their families who have been requested to stay home for many days, the numbers start adding up rapidly. Then add in the co-workers that have been exposed and have also been asked to quarantine. Chances are the coworkers have families, so in a short period of time we could be talking about a significate number of people.
“We believe we should start discussions concerning business continuity,” Thames said.
What is an organization’s ability to effectively respond to a disruption of its workforce or a critical third-party not only depends on how effective you were in the planning process, but also how effective you were with the tools you have and the training you implemented? The tools you use to communicate, maintain situational awareness, and provide current and accurate information will also have a major impact on the execution of the plan.
The groups found this booklet to be full of great ideas and suggestions. https://www.ccohs.ca/publications/PDF/businesscontinuity.pdf
Thames said a business continuity plan is a document that outlines how an organization will continue to function during and after an emergency or event. It involves planning how your key services or products can continue.
“Most business continuity plans focus on what will happen if the building or equipment is damaged. In other scenarios, the plan may assume that people will be able to return to a building after a single event (such as after a storm, or if there is a utility outage),” Thames said. “But today we have a serious infectious disease outbreak, a pandemic, so we must plan for employees being unable to report to work for a period of time. During this time, businesses, social organizations, or schools have been required to close, by order of the governor.
“We understand he ordered this to help slow the spread of the illness. These steps have already influenced how many people are available to report to work,” Thames said. “It is important to plan to have your core business activities to remain operational for several weeks or months with limited staff.
Thames said when creating a business continuity plan, determine what element is critical and how the loss of this element will affect the business.
1. Identify critical processes, operations, and functions.
2. Identify key internal and external dependencies – those things, people, or other business you rely on.
3. Identify what else can affect your business.
Here is a good resource for information. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/planning_pandemic.html
CDC and OSHA estimate as much as 40 percent of a workforce could be affected by a pandemic and be absent from work due to illness, having to care for a sick family member, or having to care for children in the event of a school closure.
Organizations also need to keep in mind how absenteeism will affect the transportation of products and supply chains, not only in the United States but abroad, said Aaron Desmond, director of business preparedness at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research Policy in Minneapolis. Organizations should examine what their critical items are in terms of suppliers and make sure they have redundancy at different points, he said.
What should we be aware of for COVID-19?
When a person is infected with COVID-19, they may have little or no symptoms, and the symptoms they do show can be easily confused with a cold or seasonal flu.
COVID-19 appears to mainly spread from person-to-person when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It is possible that it can spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects – when you touch a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes.