Corona Notes: Creating Awareness On Health & Hygiene In Disguise

I live with my family in Southern California and work as the head of a medium-sized pharmaceutical manufacturing unit with little over 50 people in the company. On March 12, we heard about coronavirus cases found in the USA; the first case was diagnosed in Northern California near San Francisco.

Although I read about it in the morning news, I was not much concerned thinking that it was a localized case and we were safe in Southern California. I was wrong. Within 3-4 days the count went up and the government started taking action. News poured in that COVID-19 will spread to other areas and we should take precaution. On March 16, Northern California, particularly San Francisco and Bay area, imposed lockdown.

Los Angeles and Southern California were fully operating till that time. Within 2 days, they found 28 people COVID-19 positive. This made everyone, including my colleagues, in Southern California fearful. People were having many questions in their minds and everyone started speculating about the possible impact.

On March 19, the Governor of California declared complete lockdown of the state. The evening news said no one should step out of the houses and everyone should work from home until further announcement. Immediately, I called our HR colleagues and asked them to prepare work-from-home guidelines. A guideline was prepared and circulated to all employees. The factory was closed, and all the people started working from home.

The same night, the Department of Health issued guidelines pertaining to which businesses should be considered as essential and should continue operations by maintaining social distancing, following sanitation and PPE.

Since we are a pharmaceutical manufacturer, we received a directive from the government to keep running the factory and to manufacture immune supplements to supply to local pharmacies and clinics as much as possible.

I called our senior employees and told them about the government directive to keep the factory operational. They were all reluctant and not happy coming to the factory. Somehow, I made them agree and informed them to call upon their downline people to restart manufacturing operations.

For the first 1-2 days we put all our efforts to redesign the facility access points to maintain social distancing, installed sanitation stations in office as well as in manufacturing, emphasized more on PPE and restricted visitors with temperature screening and health checkups. Although initially all these were exceedingly difficult and caused discomfort to everyone but slowly people got trained and adopted the same and they started following the same practices at home with their family members.

I noticed my employees were more confident than others and they liked the workplace instead of sitting at home. They even mentioned their workplace was equally safe as their homes. This was very satisfying and gave a boost to all employees, helping improve their confidence and workplace productivity.

In the USA, we never notice a cop beating people when they came out of their homes. Because people are aware of the dangers and protect themselves with PPE before they step out. Awareness is especially important in countries like India and the government should work harder to create awareness instead of beating people on the roads.


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