Ask your employer how they are handling possible coronavirus outbreak

If you have the coronavirus (COVID-19) or are exposed to someone who does, you are required to stay at home for 14 days.

We looked at what that an outbreak would mean for people forced to take off of work Friday, an equally important question to as employers.

The guidelines are clear: Anyone exposed to the coronavirus should quarantine for two full weeks. That means missing work during that time. And, for most people, that means missing out on a paycheck.

“I’m a server, so I only get paid $5 an hour,” said Geovanny Moreno in Fort Myers. “We make all our money off of tips, so that would be a big deal.”

Jim Wall, the communications director with CareerSource Southwest Florida, told us many companies are wrestling with how to handle the possibility of employees needing to quarantine due to coronavirus.

“We have talked to businesses who said they’re prepared to quarantine employees either by working from home, working remotely, using their personal time off, leave time,” Wall said.

Gov. DeSantis says, during his visit to Collier County health department Friday afternoon, he’s asked Florida employers to minimize the damage for quarantined employees.

“You’re going to lose less by having them go through that and then coming back healthy than if they infect other people in your workforce,” DeSantis said. “And I think most employers have understood that.”

We reached out to some of Southwest Florida’s largest employers. Lee Health System told us it will bump up its teleworking program.

School District of Lee County, Collier County Public Schools, FGCU, and NCH Healthcare System, all plan to make any employee who has to quarantine use sick leave or paid time off.

If you don’t know how your employer plans to handle any quarantine, it’s recommended to ask sooner than later. If you are forced into quarantine, groups like United Way can help with financial assistance

“If it definitely hits Southwest Florida, it would be nice for them to have a plan,” Moreno said.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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