Yesterday, governor Tom Wolf made an announcement to order all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close physical locations to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The deadline for these businesses to close was 8:00 p.m. on 3/19/2020.
The governor said, “to protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions. This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely.”
Essential businesses will remain open in order to provide people with life necessities such as food, medicine and fuel.
Large companies normally take a step back during times of major crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic however, companies are doing what they can to step up and rise to these challenging times. Even though businesses are closing they still must find ways to keep operating. The companies that can do this are having employees work from home. By doing this the CDC has recommended all events or gathers of 50 or more people be canceled for the next 8 weeks. Below are some examples of the ways companies are addressing their employees and their communities.
- Encouraging mental wellness
Most people need social interaction, to support mental and physical health, companies like Starbucks announced they will be expanding their mental health benefits to include up to 20 therapy sessions for all their employees.
Telecommunications companies across the country have signed the Keep Americans Connected pledge to ensure people keep access to their internet and phone for the next 60 days.
- Providing financial security
Retail stores and factory closings, many hourly workers are concerned about how they will make ends meet with out pay. Retail store Lululemon which recently closed all physical locations in North America will continue to pay their employees and provide them with access to a pay relief fund. Many companies are also making changes to sick-leave policies, providing additional coverage to their employees.
- Supporting small businesses
Small businesses are trying to stay afloat during these tough times. Large companies are stepping up in support of small businesses. Amazon announced a $5 million dollar relief fund for small businesses in the vicinity of its headquarters.
As our lives continue to be disrupted by the COVID-19 virus with the unknown of how long this will last, many businesses are working to implement positive strategies that benefit communities as they continue to support their employees, customers and the economy.