Employee Update #6 Re: COVID-19

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Two weeks ago, we made significant changes to how we operate in many of our markets. The decision to close a number of our locations was not taken lightly. This decision was put in place, most importantly, to limit the time that our team members are in contact with the public. We’ve been able to successfully set up over 80% of the workforce with the ability to work from home as well as rotate team members in the office to have less interaction. These swift changes have reduced the stress on our teams and allowed us to present ourselves as leaders in social responsibility, all the while providing the support and care to our customers through alternative methods and locations.

We will continue to support these efforts and have decided to extend our current practices through May 4, 2020, meaning all current temporary location closures, work from home capabilities and rotational department servicing will remain in place.

Please continue to direct all customer inquiries to your location presidents/location leaders. It is important to have open dialogue with our customers to demonstrate our support as we operate in this new manner.

New Health Guidelines

Cloth Face Masks

Many of you have heard it has been recommended to wear cloth face masks where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. We invite you to wear a face mask in these instances. This is not a required practice due to the variety of working conditions across our markets. Cloth face masks have been determined as beneficial for a variety of reasons, the two most important being protection to others (if any of us are unknown/asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19) and the physical reminder to reduce any touching of the face (the most common method of transfer).

Currently, we have been unable to purchase large quantities of masks that would get to our locations in a timely manner. As many of you have seen, there are a variety of ways to make these cloth face coverings from household items or common materials at very low cost. Please watch these videos if you are interested in making your own mask.

CDC Instructions

How to Make a Cloth Face Mask

Be sure to wash the masks regularly in a washing machine and be taken off carefully as to not touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Ironing a cloth face mask has also been cited as a means of “cleaning” a face mask due to the heat and steam.  I’ve been starting to see them in use all over town when driving around and is a simple and easy precaution to practice.

Travel

Recently, North Dakota requires residents to quarantine for 14 days if traveling out of state. This is a good reminder to all of us during the holiday season to simply stay put. We ask that you reconsider any travel plans and to consider the safety and health of those that you had planned to visit, and the safety of your team members. There are many ways to connect virtually with our friends and family, and we have team members across the organization who have been finding new ways to celebrate events and each other through this tough time. Reach out to each other for ideas and advice on how to connect in new ways.

I want to remind everyone that you are not alone in your feelings of stress, sadness and confusion. Please make your physical and mental health a priority. It hits us all at different times and I need you to know that you can reach out to me at any point in time. We are all in this together and we need to be there for each other in supporting ways. Please continue to reach out to others, connect for those social hours and simply, ask how each other are doing. Sometimes, we just need someone to ask that simple question. I often need that reminder too.

Remember that you have an amazing HR team that can help you through these difficult times. Check out the resources they’ve put together to help you and your families.

COVID-19 Resources

Stay safe, stay connected and stay healthy.

 

 

 

 

 Brian Johnson, CEO