What should you do if someone at your dealership tests positive for coronavirus?
Dealerships went to great lengths to prepare for opening after the lockdown and prevent the spread – but are they fully aware of what steps they’ll need to take should an employee have symptoms or even test positive?
This week, Car Dealer reported that Pentland Land Rover Perth had to close due to three workers testing positive for the virus, despite significant efforts to prevent the spread.
If someone at your car dealership is showing symptoms, knowing what to do next can be confusing.
You need to be familiar with what steps are your responsibility, what comes down to them and what role the government will play.
Understanding these rules and guidance will also help you understand how to prevent losing all of your workforce for potentially 14 days.
The best way to avoid this is still to follow the social distancing guidelines, keep good hygiene and ensure close contact is limited between employees – but what should you do if someone tests positive who has visited or works in your dealership?
What should I do if an employee starts to develop Covid-19 symptoms?
If an employee develops symptoms, they should order a test as soon as possible. This can either be delivered to their house or they can book a drive through appointment.
As soon as they’ve ordered the test, they’ll be asked to tell NHS Test and Trace about anyone they’ve been in close contact with.
Who will have to self-isolate apart from that employee?
Close contact doesn’t necessarily mean the entire dealership. If you’ve been able to practice social distancing and keep workers apart as much as possible, they won’t be classed as ‘close contact’.
This only means if they’ve had face-to-face contact within one-metre – including being coughed on, having skin-to-skin physical contact or contact within one-metre for one-minute – or have been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for 15 minutes, or having travelled in the same vehicle.
If Perspex screens or similar have been used, it’s not considered sufficient contact.
Apart from this, only full medical grade PPE is considered sufficient and general PPE, such as face masks, still risks transmission.
Do my employees have to tell me who they’ve come into close contact with?
It’s recommended that if an employee has symptoms or tests positive, they inform their employer of who they came into close contact with in the workplace and they then tell these people. The employer should keep this anonymous.
When someone first shows symptoms and orders a test, they will be encouraged to contact anyone they’ve come into close contact with in the 48 hours before these symptoms began.
These people do not need to isolate unless advised by Test and Trace or a health professional, according to government advice.
If the test comes back positive, Test and Trace will get in touch with these close contacts and inform them to self-isolate for 14 days.
Is it my responsibility to make sure they self-isolate?
You should help your employees to self-isolate if they have symptoms, have tested positive, live in the same household as someone in those categories, or have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive and they’ve been advised by NHS Test and Trace.
If a confirmed Covid-19 case has been in the dealership, how do I clean it?
If someone has tested positive for coronavirus and they’ve been working in the dealership, you must first ensure you are wearing at least the minimum level of PPE to clean it; a face mask, plastic apron and gloves.
Areas that the person has spent minimal time in can be cleaned as normal. However, all surfaces they have come into contact with should be cleaned and disinfected. This should include potentially contaminated areas, such as door handles.
You should ensure there are disposable cloths, paper roll and disposable mop heads, to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings. The advice says ‘think one site, one wipe, in one direction’.
What about uniforms or waste they might have left on site?
The government advice for cleaning laundry is that they can be washed as normal.
When it comes to waste, the advice is to put this in a bin bag and then in another bin bag and store it somewhere safe until the test results are known.
If they test positive, it should be stored for at least 72 hours before being disposed of. If you need to dispose of it sooner, it should be kept separate from other waste and collected by a specialist contractor or hazardous waste firm.