Federal health authorities have issued guidance on preventing violence related to enforcement of COVID-19 prevention policies, including urging employees not to argue with upset customers or try and force them to do things like wear masks.
To limit violence that may occur when businesses enforce policies and practices related to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised in guidelines updated this week that employees should follow a series of dos and dont like using de-escalation techniques and avoiding antagonizing angry customers. Employers, meanwhile, are urged to provide workplace violence training and install safety measures like panic buttons and safe rooms.
Many state and local governments have in place restrictions to curb the spread of the CCP virus like public gathering size caps, while businesses across the country have also implemented their own policies, like limiting the number of household items a customer can purchase or denying service to people who refuse to wear masks. Confrontations over enforcement of such virus-related policies can become heated.
Recently, a hostess at a restaurant in Louisiana was assaulted by a group of diners after telling them they couldnt sit together because of social distancing restrictions, an employee at a Sesame Street theme park near Philadelphia was punched in the face and had his jaw broken after confronting visitors over mask-wearing policies, while a man in Pennsylvania was charged with attempted murder after shooting at an employee after being asked to wear a mask in a cigar shop.
“Workers may be threatened and assaulted as businesses try to put into place COVID-19 prevention policies and practices (e.g., mandatory use of masks, social distancing, and limits on the number of customers allowed in a business),” the CDC noted.
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