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The Sikh Coalition News
May 18, 2020
  • [UPDATE] CDC Guidance for Businesses and Gurdwaras

    To read this email in Punjabi, please click here.

    May 18, 2020 (New York, NY) -- As states continue to evaluate different stages of reopening public life on a case-by-case basis, the Sikh Coalition wants to ensure that all Sikhs remain aware of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) public health recommendations during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

    The best way to protect yourself and those around you is to avoid being exposed to the virus and unknowingly passing it on. As local governments continue to make different decisions, we urge everyone to continue limiting the possibilities for exposure while social distancing. This means following health guidance and recommendations very seriously.

    CDC PREVENTATIVE SAFETY GUIDELINES

    1. Continue to practice social distancing. Stay at least six feet (2 arms’ length) from other people, do not gather in groups, and continue to stay out of crowded places.
    2. Wear face coverings whenever out in public, especially when social distancing is not possible. If you or someone you know is struggling to secure appropriate face coverings for personal or employment purposes, please contact the Sikh Coalition immediately.
    3. Continue to wash your hands frequently. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public space or have been coughing or sneezing.
    4. Continue to clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phones, toilets, faucets, etc.

    CDC GUIDELINES IN THE EVENT THAT YOU GET SICK

    1. In the event that you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, stay home and avoid public places. Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild symptoms and can recover at home without medical care. Get rest, and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), to help you feel better. Stay in touch with your doctor via phone calls, emails, or video conferencing unless you have emergency warning signs that merit in-person medical treatment.
    2. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.
    3. Monitor your symptoms closely. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.
    4. If you or someone you know is having trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face, please call 911 or call ahead to your emergency medical provider to let them know that you are coming in immediately. This is not a complete list of possible COVID-19 symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are concerning to you.

    CDC HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR OWNING AND OPERATING A BUSINESS

    1. Enforce hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and using face coverings when around others where feasible. Certain industries might require face shields.
    2. Ensure adequate supplies are available for healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
    3. Post signs throughout business on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, how to properly wear a face covering, how to properly wash your hands, and other everyday protective measures.
    4. Clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared objects at least daily. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants.
    5. Avoid sharing items that cannot be easily cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.
    6. Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outside air as much as possible by opening windows and doors--unless doing so compromises the safety of the workplace.
    7. Limit customer service to drive-throughs, curbside takeout, or delivery options, if possible.
    8. Consider installing physical barriers, including sneeze guards and partitions, and changing workspace layouts to ensure that individuals remain at least six feet apart.
    9. Close communal office spaces, such as break rooms, or at a minimum stagger their use while cleaning them repeatedly.
    10. Whenever feasible, continue to promote telework for as many colleagues as possible.
    11. Consider rotating or staggering shifts to allow for cleaning and social distancing.
    12. Replace in-person meetings with video conferencing or phone meetings.
    13. Cancel all group events, meetings, or trainings of more than 10 people.
    14. Restrict non-essential visitors, vendors, or volunteers along with any activities with other outside organizations.
    15. Cancel all non-essential travel and work with employees who use public transportation to identify alternative transportation or telework options.
    16. Train managers and senior staff in all of the above.

    CDC HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR ATTENDING GURDWARA

    If you are responsible for gurdwara programming, please continue to take every measure to reduce sangat size at any given time at gurdwara, including by suspending divaans and postponing all large events (celebrations and nagar keertans) where crowds may gather. Consider online programming so local sangats can continue to engage.

    While keeping sangat limited inside gurdwara, including any seva projects being held on gurdwara property, please strictly follow CDC recommendations, including:
    1. Continue to practice social distancing. This means stay at least six feet (2 arms’ length) from other people, do not gather in groups, and continue to stay out of crowded places.
    2. Post signs on how to properly reduce the spread of COVID-19, including hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and using face coverings when around others where feasible (NASMDA has several resources in English and Punjabi).
    3. Be extra vigilant about langar and parshad preparation and distribution: Langar and parshad should only be served after hand hygiene. Strongly consider serving it with utensils: For example, use an ice cream scoop or something similar to distribute parshad.
    4. Clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared objects frequently each day. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants.
    5. Ensure adequate supplies are available for healthy hygiene behaviors--including soap, hand sanitizer, food-grade gloves, tissues, and trash cans--and use disposable paper towels.
    6. Wear face coverings whenever inside gurdwara, especially when social distancing is not possible. This is also essential while serving langar.
    7. Keep seperate bins for clean and used rumaals (headscarves), and wash all rumaals every day.

    Please understand that these CDC recommendations and other suggested measures are to protect our sangats: They will allow us to support those who are underserved and vulnerable, as is our responsibility. We must continue taking extraordinary measures to limit attendance to those who need services from the gurdwara (e.g. meals, shelter, and/or healthcare) in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    For additional resources and tips related to keeping sangats safe and gurdwaras clean, please see resources from the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association and others in English and Punjabi. This time of ongoing upheaval and crisis is difficult, but it requires us all to make the best choices for the health and safety of all. Together, we will continue to adapt as we look forward to a time when things will once again feel more normal. For more critical resources and information on COVID-19, please visit the Sikh Coalition’s website here.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
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