By Alan Wolf, YSN

A renewed wave of COVID-19 is surging across the country, and BrandSource members are not immune.

A number of reports have surfaced this week of owners and employees contracting the virus, prompting the closure of several stores. But given the infection’s unknowns — it is, after all, a novel coronavirus — members have expressed uncertainty about whether to close or when to reopen should a team member test positive.

Here is the best and latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s science-based, data-driven health protection agency.

First and foremost, seek emergency medical attention if you or an employee are having trouble breathing, are experiencing pain or pressure in the chest, are unable to waken or stay awake, or are exhibiting bluish lips or face.

For those who contracted COVID, the CDC recommends waiting 10 days after testing positive or since symptoms first appeared before returning to work, including one full day fever free. Those who experienced severe symptoms or have a severely weakened immune system are advised to self-quarantine for 10 to 20 days and may require a viral test to determine when it’s safe to be around others.

For those who were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, the CDC recommends staying home for 14 days following their last exposure to the infected person (unless they themselves recovered from the virus within the last three months).

Depending on the size of your business, that could mean closing down a store for up to two weeks.

As Michigan Region manager and Cole’s Appliance owner Brad Cole noted on a member call-in, quarantines will have a greater impact on smaller companies where individuals assume multiple roles, than on larger operations that can better isolate exposed departments or individuals. Cole’s advice: keep team members together, rather than rotating their shifts or duties, to limit the virus’s spread should someone fall ill.

In the unfortunate event that a store must temporarily shutter, Cole said to share that information with customers through signage and social, explaining that “Due to health concerns, we will be closed until …” Messaging should also direct customers to the dealer’s website for further information and online purchases.

“It’s a tough time of the year to be closed,” Cole acknowledged.

To help prevent an occurrence of COVID at your business, the National Retail Federation(NRF) strongly advises retailers to follow established health and safety protocols for showroom and in-home staff. These include wearing face masks, maintaining six feet of distance between individuals, washing hands frequently, and regularly sanitizing all high-touch surfaces.

A comprehensive list of safety procedures and member best practices can be found here, here and here within the YourSourceNews COVID Info Hub. And of course, contact your region manager or member relations representative with any questions or concerns.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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