Knowing how many businesses in Puerto Rico have contingency plans in place to handle a possible outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is “difficult to determine,” the chairwoman of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association’s Occupational Health and Safety Committee, Tania Álvarez said.
However, she confirmed most manufacturing plants have plans to protect their operations based on the recommendations given by the Health Department.
“Over the past few years, the PRMA and its Occupational Health and Safety Committee have offered workshops with the goal that industries develop their business continuity plans and protocols,” she said.
“Some of them have specific actions for pandemics within their business continuity plans, with tools aimed at identifying their essential operations, delegating authority and projections of production in case of absenteeism,” she said.
To face COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, companies have begun implementing steps, such as restricting travel, screening visitors and taking other preventive measures.
“Travel is being restricted. They try to keep them only if they’re critical, meetings are being handled virtually. Trips to mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea and the northern regions of Italy have been restricted until further notice,” Álvarez said.
Visitors to plant sites, including contractors and suppliers, are being subjected to screening, with questions directed at determining if in the last 14 days, the person has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with, or is currently being evaluated as a possible case of COVID-19.
Furthermore, the screening also questions the person on whether they have traveled to the countries identified as having COVID-19 outbreaks. People are also being checked for signs of illness, such as fever, runny nose, cough or breathing difficulty.
“You could begin to notice the placement of posters for visitors and employees to prevent entry and possible infections. Also, the implementation of these restrictions by the industries to their suppliers,” she said.
The Centers for Disease Control has created a pandemic preparedness guide to address different aspects of this public health emergency.