Businesses react to COVID-19 threat


By Kelsey Kimbler - kkimbler@registerherald.com



PREBLE COUNTY — Organizations and businesses throughout Preble County are doing their best to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 to the area. They are doing this through canceling events, cleaning business areas, and being mindful of the pandemic.

Educational Institutions

•Edison State Community College, with a campus in Eaton, extended its spring break by one week and changed to online classes following vacation.

They issued the following statement, “We are at a unique moment in our nation’s history of public health challenges. At Edison State Community College, the health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff—as well as their families — is always of utmost importance.

“The Edison State team, along with local and state health officials, are working diligently by identifying precautionary measures the college, as well as individuals, should take during this time. To mitigate the community spread of COVID-19, and to best protect each of us and our communities after spring break, Edison State will be taking the following action: All in-person classes at Edison State are moving to a distance-learning method of instruction until at least March 30. Spring break will be extended by one week to allow for this transition.

Classes will resume online on Monday, March 23. Students will hear directly from their respective deans and/or faculty instructor regarding any specific instructions as we move forward. Edison State is also limiting group gatherings on campus and eliminating all non-essential employee travel.

“Edison State will continue to actively monitor the situation during this time to determine our next steps. All of us must do our part in getting through this challenging time.

“For additional information and updates, please visit: www.edisonohio.edu/covid-19.”

Religious institutions

•Dr. Greg Jackson, Senior Pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, says they’re still holding service and shaking hands in Camden, but they will be cleaning more vigorously and he even uploads his sermons online so his congregation can worship from afar, if need be.

“Last Sunday from the pulpit I said, ‘Let’s address the elephant in the room.’ How are we going to respond right now? We’re going to respond like the church had a flu outbreak. Providing more places to wash your hands, making it easier for you to access stuff, we’re going to wipe down things like we haven’t in the past, and take the cleaning thing to the next level,” he said.

“We’ve shared with our folks, if you’re stick go to the doctor but don’t come to church. If you feel flu symptoms, stay home. We’re concerned if someone would come to church and not know they’re sick and spread it around. We pass offering plates and we greet you as you come in the door.

“Those are easy fixes. We can have ushers at the door without passing offering plates on the way out. In Camden we will be shaking hands on Sunday. If we find out it escalated to the point where health officials are recommending you don’t, we’ll reevaluate, but church is a place to be welcomed, not isolated.”

He added, if he needed to, he would cancel service, but only reluctantly and if absolutely necessary.

•Ministry Grid put out a list of “basic hygiene practices” to combat spreading all illnesses while in church. They recommend cleaning the following areas: doors, door handles, entry ways, welcome center, pews, hand surface chairs, floors, tables, counters, coffee stations, restrooms, water fountains, office furniture, kids ministry area, student ministry area, classrooms, kitchen, worship instruments, microphones, sound equipment, computers, and tablets.

They also issued the follow tips for entry ways and during services:

•Wipe all doors and door handles with disinfectant solution before and after each use.

•Prop open all doors in high traffic areas,

•Post signage to encourage hand washing and add hand sanitizing stations around facility.

•Ask guest services team to avoid shaking hands of those entering church facility.

•Place bulletins or worship guides on tables for people to pick up.

•Prop open all doors to sanctuary or worship center prior to service and close at start of service.

•Exclude greeting times from worship services.

•Use offering buckets near exists instead of passing offering plates.

•Use tables or stations for taking the Lord’s Supper instead of passing the elements.

•Wipe all hard surfaces like tabletops, counters, etc. with disinfecting solution after each service.

Manufacturers

•Cargill Lewisburg West had to postpone its grand opening.

The manufacturer issued the following statement, “At Cargill, the safety and well-being of our colleagues, customers and industry partners is our top priority. Due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the grand opening event for our new Lewisburg West premix plant that was scheduled for Wednesday, April 8. We made this decision out of an abundance of caution to help keep everyone healthy and safe.

“We know this situation continues to evolve, and we will be monitoring it closely. Over the next few weeks, we will look at calendars to determine when we can reschedule this exciting event. We look forward to hosting you at our new premix plant soon and showing you how we are raising the bar on premix production. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Cheryl Brunow (cbrunow@provimi-na.com).”

•According to Communications and Community Relations Manager Emily Flanigan, Henny Penny Corporation’s production is normal and stable and they are not experiencing an impact to their lead-times or supply chain.

She said, “In keeping with our People First philosophy, we’ve taken a number of actions to ensure the health and safety of our employees:

•Created a dedicated cross-functional team to address the evolving COVID-19 virus and its impact on our employees, business, and community

•With the announcement of school closures, we provided employees who are a parent or guardian of a child who is in 8th grade or below and who is unable to work remotely an additional three days of paid time off.

•Asked employees who can work from home to do so

•Encourage social distancing

•Increased the cleaning frequency of all hard surfaces, doorknobs, conference room tables, etc.

•Postponed all internal company-scheduled trainings

•Encouraged virtual meetings or teleconferencing in place of in-person meetings

•Prop open interior doors, where possible, to minimize transfer opportunities

•Discourage external visitors through April 30

•Encourage rescheduling or postponement of non-essential meetings and business visits

•Suspended company tours

•Are actively following Centers for Disease Control and State Department travel guidance

“We are communicating frequently within the organization as circumstances change. We encourage employees to stay updated on all company announcements so they know what actions we’re taking based on the latest details. We expect the situation will continue to evolve rapidly, and we will continue to keep employees updated as we have additional guidance and guidelines over the coming days, weeks, and months. We will continue working to proactively monitor the impact and make the most prudent decisions in the timeliest manner.

“In keeping with our People First philosophy, the health and safety of all employees is our top priority. Our goal is to lead and make decisions with care and transparency. This is a time for us to pull together as employee owners to support the needs of our fellow employees and our customers.”

By Kelsey Kimbler

kkimbler@registerherald.com

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH