Open Letter to Members & Employees of Alberta Seed Processors
Since the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, I would like to reiterate the Provincial Association’s commitment to supporting you and your employees through this time of uncertainty—and to share important information with you about pandemic readiness. As members and employees of Alberta Seed Processors, we predominately operate in rural settings, and as such, we may believe that this will only affect “someone else.” This attitude only undermines the drastic measures that are being undertaken on a global basis to slow the spread of the virus.
We are all in this together. Each of us has a role in adopting measures to protect our employees, customers, families, friends, and neighbours. As an organization with a strong commitment to the communities we serve, we at Alberta Seed Processors believe in leading by example. We urge you to implement strategies at work, home, and in your communities to help limit the spread of COVID-19 – including support to those in need, such as individuals who may be at home in self-isolation.
We also encourage you as an employer to implement preventative measures to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in your workplace. Please visit Alberta Health Services at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx for up-to-date guidelines and advice for employers and employees.
YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO CHECK RESOURCES, AND NEWS FEEDS REGULARLY FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION.
The Alberta Health website has downloadable posters that you may want to consider printing & posting at your place of business. Here is one example:
This is a quick list; please consult the Alberta Health website (link above) for complete details:
COVID 19 is a serious respiratory illness that knows no borders, is highly infectious, and is spread through person-to-person contact by larger droplets; like from a cough or sneeze and/or touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. COVID-19 is not airborne and cannot spread through the air over long distances or times, like the measles. Studies suggest that the virus generally only survives for a few hours on a surface, though it may be possible for it to survive several days under ideal conditions.
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION: NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM
All Albertans are encouraged to take personal steps to help prevent the spread.
To protect yourself and others:
- Practice social distancing- meaning maintaining at least one metre from other individuals.
- Stay home and away from others if sick or in isolation (NOT negotiable).
- Practice good hygiene by washing hands often.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Be sure to thoroughly wash (not just rinse) any reusable coffee mugs, eating utensils, lunch bags etc. Pay special attention to the wipe down of door handles, counter tops, and so-called “high touch” surfaces- including pens, coffee dispensers, etc.
- Avoid settings in which people are gathered closely, i.e. busy public or retail spaces.
- Avoid unnecessary travel – even locally.
RESPONSIBILITY OF EMPLOYERS:
This is not a full list, refer to the Alberta Health website for further information.
A staggering 20-30% of the population is estimated to become affected by the virus. Do NOT assume we are immune to infection because we are generally in rural areas. Employers and business managers should plan for the best but prepare for the worst-case scenario.
To prepare, employers/managers are advised to protect employees, limit spread in workplaces to customers/employees, and ensure continuity of critical services if staff are ill or self-isolating. Many of us have not thought about a scenario in which key employees are out of service. Now is the time to build a contingency plan.
MANAGERS’ TRAINING EVENT– Scheduled for June 22-23, 2020
At this point in time, with the information available at time of writing – Mar. 18, 2020 – the event will proceed as scheduled, EXCEPT in the instance that the province still prohibits public gatherings.
The information on COVID-19 control measures are rapidly changing. All we can do right now is wait and see. The situation will continue to be monitored with appropriate decisions being made as soon as possible. Currently, the province has not published an end date to any of the prohibitions on pubic gatherings. A go or no-go decision will be made no later than June 1, 2020. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
We are co-operative in structure and by nature. Working together and with others is what defines our success in both good times, and in times of crisis.
Stay calm and healthy!