It’s that time of year again – the Office Holiday party! Whether your office is having a big celebration this year or small gathering, one thing is for sure, the CDC and Cal-OSHA are worried about your gathering being a super spreader event, especially in light of the Omicron variant being diagnosed in the Bay Area and throughout areas in California.
Before Covid-19, my holiday party blog would cover topics like “be careful of sexual harassment at your holiday party” or “discriminatory statements” which are known to increase as your employees imbibe, but not this year (although these issues still are very much a concern and many incidents flow from holiday parties, along with the alcohol). This year it’s “make sure you remember, whether onsite or offsite, your holiday party is a workplace event and employers must make sure that there are Covid-19 protocols in place for keeping your employees safe,”even for the Office holiday party.
Despite increased vaccination status this year than last (especially now with the booster) providing for protection from Covid-19, there are breakthrough cases of the Coronavirus, only complicated by those that are unvaccinated, so the risks of hosting your holiday party this year for your company are real.
Is your holiday party inside or outside–this can limit risks and mask wearing. Consider outside events or spaces with ample space for employees & their guests (if invited) to spread out. For example, a fun food truck rather than an inside sit-down meal allows individual meals to be selected rather than sharing with others. Rather than a photo booth, hire a photographer to take the pictures to eliminate one particular area of high traffic that would otherwise need to be sanitized after each use.
You can also choose to ensure your attendees are Covid-19 negative, by requiring proof of a negative test within 24-48 hours in advance of the celebration. Remember if you choose this option, or choose to provide the rapid tests, that cost must be borne by you, the employer.
Whatever you choose, don’t forget if you offer alcoholic drinks to your employees, plan ahead by offering to pay for, or provide, rideshare options to ensure all your employees and their guests get home safe.
To learn more about planning a Covid safe holiday gathering this year, exploring options for celebrating your employees and showing your appreciation, or whether to have a celebration at all, contact your local employment attorneys at Chauvel & Glatt.
The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500. (photo credit: depositphotos.com).