NCIA’s Human Resources Committee hopes that you and all your employees are healthy during this outbreak. Many states continue considering cannabis-related business as ‘essential,’ so the HR Committee met to discuss ways NCIA member companies could navigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our cannabis businesses to help ensure you and employees minimize your risk of spreading and contracting the virus in the workplace.
We are confident that our fellow member companies strive to create a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, but we have brainstormed a few extra precautions cannabis companies may want to consider during this outbreak.
One of the best resources we have seen thus far are the WHO guidelines put in place for workforces.
Some additional best practices we have seen from dispensaries, processing facilities, and cultivation sites are as follows:
Consider using an app so employees can login/logout on their own phones versus signing in/out, using a time punch system, or everyone logging in/out on the same computer system.
We know that cash handling & computers being used by multiple people is a concern for many employees. Consider purchasing gloves for employees to use. If gloves aren’t available due to medical personnel needing these supplies at this time, offer additional breaks so employees can wash their hands between each transaction with a customer.
Product Packaging Handling
If you’re in a state where customers are allowed to touch the product packaging or sample containers, consider also having gloves available for customers to use. You should also have some form of cleaning wipes available to wipe down packaging, sample containers, etc. after each customer has touched them, along with wiping down cabinet tops between each customer. Seeing as these supplies are sometimes not available at this time, consider putting up a notice stating that in order to keep customers safe during these times, only Store Employees will be handling product packaging.
For retail stores, you may want to even consider installing plastic/glass barriers (think similar to what we had back in the medical days or you see at banks) in order to keep employees/customers safe. For Producer/Processer cannabis companies, you should try to keep employees at the 6-foot minimum distance. If you’re not already operating in multiple shifts, you may want to consider doing this as well so you can continue regular production but space out workers so they feel safer in this environment.
Add additional hand sanitizer stations and consider hiring additional staff and/or appointing one of your current staff members to wipe down all surfaces every 30 minutes.
Consider purchasing thermometers for each employee so they can check their temperature multiple times/day.
Curbside Pickup or Appointment-Based Purchasing
Consider adding to your website a mechanism for customers to pre-order online with curbside pickup, or to schedule an appointment to visit your store. This can help to keep the number of customers in your store at any given time relatively low, while maintaining consistent business throughout the day.
While not all states have delivery available, those that do should try to encourage its use. This will help limit contact between your workers and customers.
We are sure our fellow members will have plenty of other valuable suggestions, so we encourage you to share your best ideas in the comments section of this blog post, on NCIA’s Facebook page, so we can all work together to keep our cannabis community safe during these times.