Monday, March 23, 2020

COVID-19: Extreme Circumstances Call For Extreme Measures

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly across the world, affecting more than 160 countries and claiming more than 14,000 lives. There are more than 340,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Europe is at the epicenter of the crisis and the United States is facing a surge in cases.

Today, the Indiana law firm where I am employed implemented a Coronavirus Office Plan. It outlines some general policies, practices and procedures with respect to the operation of our office during this pandemic. Also included is information regarding how in-office client meetings are to be conducted, as well as actions to be taken in the event of needing to work from home or if a government shut down were to occur. There are likely countless offices that are implementing a similar plan.

Ironically, within two hours of implementing our office's Coronavirus Office Plan the Governor of Indiana issued an executive order for Indiana residents to stay at home for two weeks in an attempt to decrease the rapid spread of COVID-19. Only essential businesses are to be in operation. Legal services are on the list of essential businesses.

As I watch the news and see the increasing amount of layoffs and filings for unemployment, I am thankful for my job and its related benefits. I've always been thankful for that, yet in the midst of a pandemic of this magnitude I am even more grateful. I am like most people in that there are no guarantees when it comes to employment. However, at this point I am reporting for work daily and working on client files. Our office is operating with social distancing regularly happening, as well as daily employee temperature readings. My desk has containers of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes that I use almost hourly, and I use sanitizing wipes on doorknobs, handrails, the photocopier and other office machines. We are truly living in a time when constant vigilance must occur.

Although Indiana's courthouses are closing to the public, the law firm where I work continues to press on with client cases while being incredibly aware of the need to exercise strict measures to help combat the spread of this virus. While in the office, we do not get within 6 feet of one another; we're staying out of each other's offices; we communicate with each other primarily via our phones and e-mail (when speaking across a room won't suffice); and, we typically transfer documents to each other by placing those into employee boxes for retrieval. There are several law firms across Indiana and other US states that either have their employees working from home, or have shut down temporarily due to the Coronavirus. Unemployment is rising daily, many small business owners are suffering, and uncertainty and fear seems to be growing in society with each news update on the Coronavirus. These are truly unstable days worldwide. One day, this will be behind us.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso