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Welcome to the conversation Forum of Flu Wiki

This is an international website intended to remain accessible to as many people as possible. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual posters who remain solely responsible for the content of their messages.
The use of good judgement during the discussion of controversial issues would be greatly appreciated.

Influenza = Danger + Opportunity for Business

by: Public_Health_Networker

Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 11:01:14 AM EDT

good topic for discussion The Chinese word for crisis is often stated to be composed of two characters, danger + opportunity. Whether this is true or not, influenza can be thought of as equaling both danger and opportunity for businesses.  (Open this diary to read more)
Public_Health_Networker :: Influenza = Danger + Opportunity for Business
Businesses need to plan for and mitigate against many possible dangers to their businesses from influenza viruses.  

But there are also opportunities for business to serve and assist their communities (including other businesses) by insuring that necessary supplies and services are delivered,  by protecting individuals at high risk of dying from influenza,  by decreasing both the number and intensity of influenza exposures for everyone else, and by assisting in vaccination (when available).  

It is my hope that this forum can be a  place for businesses to interact with each other, with the community, and with influenza experts in the development and testing of solutions which will benefit both businesses (through profit) and communities (though decreased disease and death.)  

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What are the Best Resources for Businesses?
Here is the start of a list of resources for businesses.  This list is not inclusive and does not necessarily include the best.  I invite others to add their favorite links and to let us all know which you find the best.

The US Government Pandemic Page

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention H1N1 Business Page

The Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy Business Resource page

Business Toolkit from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

The Risk and Insurance Management Society

US Chamber of Commerce

CDC released new business guidance on August 19th.
My apologies for being late in posting this but the latest US CDC guidance for business is at

[ Parent ]
Business Opportunities - What Services Could Bussiness Provide During a Pandemic?
This thread is dedicated to things businesses can do to profit from the influenza outbreak while helping their communities. What services do you anticipate needing during a surge in influenza in your community?

Here are some ideas:  
- Delivery of food and medicine to homes where people may be infectious.
- Special hours or facilities  for high risk individuals to utilize services with less risk of infection. Workers could be screened for infection and wear surgical masks.  The density could be decreased so that individuals can stay 6 feet away from each other.  For example, a supermarket could open one hour early for pre-registered shoppers only  or a movie theater could have a special showing where only every third seat and row are utilized.
- Sick/recently sick child care facilities to care for children of people who have to and/or want to go to work.  Employees could wear PPE or have documented immunity.
-Safe working environments (with HEPA filtration air flow, internet access and phone) for the individuals to work at if they don't have facilities at home. Some could be dedicated to individuals who are recovering and separate areas could be dedicated to those such as pregnant women who can't risk getting infection.
- Special Temporary Employment Agency for people who have natural immunity either because of age or recent infection. (Once individuals have fully recovered they should be immune.) Individuals who lost wages while ill can make up those wages providing extra sevices once recovered.  

I like the HEPA idea for offices and some business
   HEPA filters sound good - is there any evidence of their effectiveness?

  I keep thinking about a four foot radius around a person is the most contaminated.

  High water content will help precipitate virus out of the air so it does not linger nor travel.

  The tracking of immunity is good - but how to document? Would that person be envied or welcome?
 What about background checks to remove pedifiles and violent offenders from working with kids or others?

 The grocery store idea is good. For people to sign up for a slot. The store does not bother me as much as check out does.

  Open as many check out registers as possible. Still need to train the population to buy in bulk to reduce trips to grocery store.

 I think back to 1950's and 60's when people would buy a week or two worth of food.

[ Parent ]
HEPA filters , distance and humidity
HEPA filters are recommended in hospitals for activities with individuals with H1N1 likely to generate aerosols. -
"For procedures that are likely to generate aerosols (e.g., bronchoscopy, elective intubation, suctioning, administering nebulized medications), an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR) with negative pressure air handling with 6 to 12 air changes per hour can be used. Air can be exhausted directly outside or be recirculated after filtration by a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Facilities should monitor and document the proper negative-pressure function of AIIRs, including those in operating rooms, intensive care units, emergency departments, and procedure rooms."
Therefore HEPA filtration would not be needed in many situations.  

As far as the radius around the individuals that should be maintained, here is a good summary from recent avian influenza guidance - http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/p...
"Influenza is thought to be primarily transmitted from person-to-person via virus-laden droplets that are generated when infected persons cough or sneeze; these droplets can then settle on the mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tracts of susceptible persons who are near (e.g., within about 6 feet) infected persons. Three feet has often been used by infection control professionals to define close contact and is based on studies of respiratory infections; however, for practical purposes, this distance may range up to 6 feet. The World Health Organization defines close contact as "approximately 1 meter"; the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration uses "within 6 feet".  For consistency with these estimates, this document defines close contact as a distance of up to approximately 6 feet."

Re the high water content - Here is a reference - http://www.plospathogens.org/a...  This study was not conducted with novel H1N1, however I have written to the author and have been told that studies are in progress.  

[ Parent ]
Residential Property Managers
As residential property managers our business has had some growing pains over the last couple of years, first when the municipal expenses of this business went through the roof because of increasing property "values" and now those same and higher expenses to do business combined with the effects of the bottom dropping out of the very "values" that sent the expenses through the roof in the first place.

We are a very small business though we do a lot of work and pay a lot of taxes in our area.  We already provide a lot of community services by networking with local social services and local churches.  We often help with language barriers on behalf of our tenants.

We will continue, to the best of our ability, to maintain our current level of maintenance and services; hwoever, there may come a time when we have to draw a line in the sand and say "no more."

My suggestion to other business owners, whether big or small, is to plan ahead.  Think about all the potential scenarios you could be facing.  Work through flow charts of "if this then that, otherwise this option instead" so that you don't get gobsmacked when/if things begin to happen.

If possible or practical begin to stockpile what you will need to remain in business. Just in time supply/demand has become a way of life.  We've begun to stockpile multiples of items (plumping, chemicals, electrical, fire extinguishers, batteries for smoke detectors, filters for AC systems, etc.) that we formally would not have bought except when we needed it.  The problem is that many major repairs can be held up for lack of one small and seemingly insignificant part.

For employees and/or customers, have a plan in place.  Don't just keep it in your head but put it down on paper.  Run through the practicality of everything.

See if you can get your business financial work accomplished online.  See what your suppliers' plans are for the pandemic.  Make sure your physical office(s) and equipment remain in good working order at all times.  If you rent your office location, what is your landlord's pandemic plans?  Could you get locked out and away from your critical records/equipment/supplies?  What about the businesses that surround you?  How hardened are they to supply interruption and/or absenteeism?  Is the area that you are located or the area you serve subject to hypothetical civil unrest?

And as snarky as this may sound, don't wait until the last second to investigate these questions.  Yes, you have to operate on a daily basis in what is going on NOW.  On the other hand, if you want your business to continue operating tomorrow you better start planning that way.  

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

Resources for Property Managers
So that property managers do not have re-invent the wheel, here are some good resources from 2006-2007.

BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Assoication)
Pandemic Resources

BOMA Pandemic Planning Guide for Commercial Buildings (BOMA Canada) http://www.bomacanada-pandemic...

BOMA Pandemic Planning Toolkit for Commercial Buildings

IFMA Foundation (International Facility Management Foundation) Pandemic Preparedness Manual

These resources contain references to H5N1 but remain very useful.  They include checklists, templates and other useful tools sometimes not found in such guides.  

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]
could take a lead in warning the public about being prepared for flu. Whether that's food, medicines or just stuff for the kids to do if they're off school unexpectedly. There are lots of stuff supermarkets can sell in the name of being ready for all hazards and flu in particular.

ReadyMoms have some great ideas on this front.


Put a stand with advice leaflets (eg caring for a flu patient at home, first aid, what drugs kids can and cannot take, etc).

Get people in the community talking and helping one another.

more on supermarkets
Provide customers with readymade shopping lists, so that they can select the items they want and the quantities.

They can then either shop just once a week or less, which would reduce visits to the supermarket.

Or have it home-delivered.  Maybe there are not enough vans for every supermarket?  We need information on that.  If creative ideas are needed, maybe school buses can have their seats unscrewed off to make room for transport.  Delivery crews can ride their bikes behind the bus if they don't all want to be inside the bus, and of course wear simple washable masks.

Or have another customer, perhaps a neihgbour, do the shopping for each other.  *"Shopping mates"* concept.

People in the supermarket could be reduced to maybe 1/10th if things are done appropriately.  Could someone gather folks in their hometown to model this as soon as possible, and share their plans, insights and results?  Open consulting model, where you give away core ideas and also provide help for pay?  That would be in kind return for ideas taken from FluWiki, and would be much much much appreciated.  Thanks! :-)

As with all things related to RCR (respiratory contact reduction, get used to those initials, or call it ReCoRe), it works better if started soon and applied widely.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Good stuff, lugon. n/t

[ Parent ]
more on supermarkets
(thanks ssal)

It's been pointed to me that there's a problem with "shopping buddies", which is the transfer of cash.

I guess there are ways around this.


I'm thinking we need to create a wikipage for this.  FluWikie.com/info doesn't work. :-(

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps do it online?
Just transfer funds to a particular checking account online, where it could be drawn out of the bank by one person that goes shopping. I do that all the time between our checking accounts, and my bank has online bill pay available.

Alternatively, Paypal or something similar could be used, to transfer from one checking account to another fairly easily.

Of course, that all assumes the internet is still up. Perhaps it could be done by telephone if necessary?

[ Parent ]
Th eshopping could be purchased online and then collected. n/t

[ Parent ]
Cash and Influenza
Some of you may have seen this very interesting article about predicting the circulation of a novel influenza using dollar bills ( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05... However it isn't that actually passing of the dollar bill that is the problem.  Any virus on the money itself can easily be removed from a person's otherwise clean hand with a dime size amount of hand sanitizer  (60 to 70% alcohol see http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03... with handwashing from dirty hands. And as long as you do that before eating, or touching your nose or mouth you won't get the flu from your money.  

Instead the real risk from the dollar bill transaction is from the face to face nature of the transaction.  The types of transmission during "face to face" transaction vary but indoors at least "the epidemiologic pattern observed is generally consistent with spread through close contact (i.e., exposure to large respiratory droplets, direct contact, or near-range exposure to aerosols)" see http://www.dhmh.state.md.us/fl...  So one way to decrease that risk is with the use of  barriers between the faces. That is the reasoning behind putting surgical masks on individuals who are ill and for teaching people to cough into cloth (see -  http://www.coughsafe.com/media... for a really great video). Putting up plastic barriers between the necessary commercial face to face interactions (such as is done in banks etc) can also serve that purpose.  (To prevent the less common airborne transmission of virus particles you would also have to prevent the flow of air from the infected person to the susceptible person)

This novel H1N1 influenza will be with us (at least for the short term)  until we develop herd immunity (through natural immunity from disease of from a vaccine when available).  However given that all influenza viruses (including  H1, H3, H7, H5 etc)  can mix and match (called antigentic shift http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topi...   and can also mutate (called drift - http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topi... the risk from other "novel" influenza viruses will persist into the future.  Low cost sustainable modifications will serve us well now and into the future.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah we know all that :-)
the problem is, few people outside flublogia live it. Until people take flu seriously they won't have the masks on hand. They won't carry tissues or hand sanitizer. And coughing into your sleeve is for weirdos.

For many, the first time they realise flu is serious will be when they can't get out to the shops because a) they're ill, b) they're caring for someone ill or c) the shops are running short of stuff because the system is struggling under a lack of healthy workers. There may even be d) the person is running short of money because they're off work or their employer has gone bust because they couldn't weather the shortage of staff/customers.

Western society has got too used to forgetting about hardship until it smacks them in the face (see credit crunch). We shouldn't approach pandemics with the same 'it'll never happen to me' mentality.

To change that you have to get people to start thinking about their own vulnerability while filling them with the knowledge that they can do something about it. Governments are loath to do that because they fear people will panic. Is it an area where business can help?

[ Parent ]
let's invite new people in
who don't know all that ;-)

[ Parent ]
BTW - hand sanitizer makes a great fire started

 Well said. Flubies live it and learn much more than expected - like hand sanitizer.

 I agree we need to invite others and demonstrate sneeze into the sleve (yea I'm a weirdo - and proud of it)

 Ahh to turn the tables so that not using hand sanitizer is weird.

 One tip - add the video to city and business website. Train employees to sneezed into the sleve. Add the "wal mart greeter' to wipe down carts.

 I would say bring your own shopping bag but a weeks worth of groceries is more than two bags for me.

 BTW - Check out lines. Open more check out lines so people are not waiting together.


[ Parent ]
New design of banks
do not use the barriers between customer and teller.  In fact, it is rather fround upon as being poor customer service and less "friendly."

The self-serve ATM machines may work for some transactions and there are even machines now that print copies of the checks that you deposit ... we search these machines out here and Tampa and ONLY use those ATMs these days, but large cash deposits can still be a problem but those could be solved using a drive through window (not the tubes that get hung up if too heavy).

In the case of the grocery store, you might not even be able to have a barrier between the groceries and the teller simply due to logistics.

I do like the self-serve machines in places like Walmart and Home Depot, but they aren't very effecient for large numbers of purchases and they are still problematic because they are always breaking or being put on "hold" until a human comes and pushes some allowed code for certain types of purchases ... such as they that require a Y/N for being over 18 years of age.

For small businesses ... like ours where we collect rental payments primarily in cash ... the only thing we'll be able to do is wear an appropriate mask and gloves.  We'll also have to have extra security (which we've already been forced to do) because of potential for violence in a money short society.  

How we handle it is that we collect the money, and the tenant drops it into individual envelopes we hand to them and then bring it home.  Wearing gloves we double check it to make sure no bills are funny money and then we sort it into denominations.  Small bills we sort into our cash we keep.  Large bills go into the deposit bag.  The small bills (20s and under) are then put into a UV box hubby built using one of those UV kits for air conditioners.  Coins, if any, get a bit of a bleach bath.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
Does that constitute money laundering ;-)
Sorry couldn't resist.

[ Parent ]
One of the few things the London banking exercise identified
was a difficulty keeping the ATMs topped up with cash. Have you the ability to take payments using debit cards? Could you use ebay and paypal at a pinch? One month's rent + handling fee as a listed item.

[ Parent ]
Nope, most of the tenants we work with
are in straightened economic status ... mostly do to their own choices at some points along their lives.  The why's are kind of beside the point I guess but the bottom line is these people really don't have the means to do any more than live a cash life.  Most have mucked up their credit to the point they can't even get a bank account and we wouldn't accept checks from them if they could.  (sigh)  Long story but in this business you learn that cash or money orders is the only truly safe currency.

Even the largest apartment complexes don't take debit or credit cards for rent.  Most no longer take automatic payments because they've been burned too many times.

But even if we could take cards instead of cash, you still are going to have businesses and transactions where the dollar amount makes it financially unfeasible for a business to go to the expense of operating that way ... and it is expensive for the business to accept credit cards, etc.  

Many businesses have to run on such narrow margins that any added cost will simply make them pull back further or have to shut down all together.

We can't shut down so we will have to absorb some losses/expenses to fight communicability issues.  Legally we'll still have to pay insurance, mortgages, business tax, business licenses, fuel costs for service calls, etc.  

We need threads like this.  Unless you've ever run your own business or been a manager in charge of being fiscally responsible and liable for costs of doing business then there are so many little things that add up and your average person just doesn't realize it.  Even during the best of economic times small businesses fold because of this issue.  Its just expensive to operate a business and it is the intangibles that will get you the worst.  Adding heightened expenses for tangible items just isn't really feasible.

It'd be nice if we could say ... "Oh, just do that or this or the other and you can ride it out," but the reality is that the funds aren't always there through no fault of the business owner.  It's just the way it is because of finanical prohibitions from government issues or because the industry itself only survives on a thin margin.

The enormous changes occuring in the credit availability due to this economic downturn and changing financial regulations at the federal level are also going to have deliterious effects on businesses being able to prep and operate during a pandemic situation.

Oh gee ... don't get me started on this hobby horse.  You might not be able to shut me up.

We'll do what we can to me our financial and legal responsibilities, but I think asking much more from that from a lot of businesses is expecting too much.  Survival comes in many different shapes and sizes on the personal level.  Just try and transpose that thought to fit businesses.  You can dehumanize large corporations but the small business ... the life blood of most countries' economic structure ... are all too human and will suffer accordingly.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
I absolutely agree with you.
I'm a small business owner and I have had to layoff 3 of our staff since the first of the year due to economic conditions. This was primarily caused by slow paying vendors. These vendors are doing two things. They are holding on to my money and using it for operating capitol and/or are experiencing cash flow issues themselves. Our margins are very thin due to the nature of my business.

This past spring my bank withdrew my line of credit. I've had this line of credit for 16 years and for the last 3 years I have used it monthly to pay our operating expenses and then pay it off as vendors pay us. My balance is paid in full usually every 45 days or so and I have never been late with any payments. They also cancelled my company credit card and the reason they gave was because I have never used it. BTW, my benefit package costs, health insurance in particular, increased 16% for this calendar year and I can no longer afford to provide health insurance for our employees.

I've worked very hard to provide for my retirement and my years of sacrifice disappeared in the twinkling of an eye last year. I'm mad as hell and I'm fearful of the future.

I found FW in my effort to make sense out of this pandemic and how it could further impact my business. As I said in another post my economic concerns were replaced by my concern for this pandemic and the welfare of my family. The first thing I did was to invest in preps for my family and did so without regard to my personal financial planning. I am now truly financially vulnerable.

Small businesses, IMHO, are faced with two potentially catastrophic events. The economy and this pandemic. More importantly my folks depend on there job to provide for there families and prepare for this pandemic.

This pandemic has already caused additional expenses to prepare our workplace (Education, masks, etc.) AND plan for absenteeism and how or if I can provide there income during this time without going bankrupt. We have had very direct and candid conversations about this because I know that some of my folks will suffer.

I also believe that many small businesses will not survive even mild disruptions and this will only make a bad situation much worse. It's been challenging this year and now this pandemic. The loss of a business means nothing compared to the loss of human lives, but for many people the loss of a job is almost as frightening.

[ Parent ]
Cash on hand
UK - Bird,

 If people had more cash on hand they could get by one or two ATMs being down.

 Cash on hand is also good for evacuation where one will not be near their bank or ATM network.

 Yes - filling and servicing ATMs is a problem. One other thing is when people leave cash or recipt in the drawer or the machine does not dispense the right cash. It has to shut down untill it is serviced.


[ Parent ]
get a UV hand light to "swipe" money and supplies.

Be Prepared

[ Parent ]
For Lugon
FluWikie.com/info doesn't work. :-(

Remove the e.  It is now www.FluWiki.info

[ Parent ]
thanks, AlohaOR! nice, nice, nice!
I was suffering from wikipage withdrawal.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Some things to add to that thought...
Vans for home delivery: Would gas stations be open and have enough fuel for the delivery vans at all times? Perhaps a system to allow them to purchase fuel at times when there aren't long lines for gasoline? Maybe even at a reduced rate?

Several years ago, there was a 'dot-com' company called WebVan.com that did much like this idea. A customer would get online, order their weeks' worth of groceries, and the company would send a driver/shopper to fill the order and deliver it. Payment was made by cash/check or credit card upon delivery.
Unfortunately, the company went belly-up after only about a year. People wanted that "hands-on" feeling of being in control of their family's shopping...

[ Parent ]
Resilience in the Food Chain
UK Study has some good discussion by business people.

Resilience in the Food Chain: A Study of Business Continuity Management in the Food and Drink Industry

Final Report to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Prepared by
Dr. Helen Peck
The Resilience Centre
Department of Defence Management & Security Analysis
Cranfield University


Avian Influenza and Pandemic Preparedness
A Planning Resource
For The Grocery Industry

prepared by:
The Food Marketing Institute
March, 2006

This is more of an initial beginners guide, more focussed on providing a background and a list of things to do.

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]
Dollar Tree
 Dollar tree has 1" by 10" strip of paper of 40 emergency items to get with a check box next to each.

 Kudos for listing items not sold by Dollar tree, or I could not find them all. Yes whistle was on the list !

 Whish they would list quantity per person per week.

 This is how a store can benifit the people flu or no flu.


Dollar Tree
 Dollar tree has 1" by 10" strip of paper of 40 emergency items to get with a check box next to each.

 Kudos for listing items not sold by Dollar tree, or I could not find them all. Yes whistle was on the list !

 Whish they would list quantity per person per week.

 This is how a store can benifit the people flu or no flu.


Fall back and re-paint
   Busniess that can not stay open can shut down and renovate.

  Some places like Denny's never close. During a bad flu pandemic they can close and renovate.

  Same for YMCA, tanning salon, gym, pool, etc.

 Just an idea


But that takes a constant money flow...
And if establishments close for several weeks, or months, their cash inflow ends. No money = no renovations. The corporate big-wigs would see the store/restaurant as a non-money maker and simply close it down. Most likely until well after the pandemic ends. At that point, they've added to the unemployment lines, lower tax revenue for the city/county, and fewer choices for consumers. It's a domino effect.
Also, if a pandemic gets so bad that there are bodies in the streets, workers are not going to want to work inside an enclosed building performing renovations with others who may be infected and shedding virii.

[ Parent ]
Constant money flow - kinda
Bronco Bill,

 Yes - the rent and much of the electric will need to be paid. The gas and water bill should be down. The food or raw supplies should be down.

 Also IMO many resteraunts and business will either be shut down by health department or shuned.

 Mexico city was closed down for a week "The Mexican government has ordered precautions to prevent the spread of infection. In Mexico City, museums were closed and public events scrapped. Nightclubs and movie theaters were closed Saturday night. At least one open bar stationed medics at its doors to check clients' throats and take their temperatures. All schools in the Mexico City area will be closed until May 6. Some companies plan to have employees work from home, and churchgoers were told to stay home and follow Sunday services on television. " Source: http://www.npr.org/templates/s...

 If a business preps they can take advantage of the time, keep employees busy and be ready at the starting gate when things do ramp up.

 Also just a many business open to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving they could offer their space for to help during a bad flu outbreak.

 Where there is a will - there is a way. We are smarter than flu!

[ Parent ]
You are forgetting the costs of doing business (an not doing business)
Kobie, even if you can come up with the tangible costs of the renovations ... assuming past income was enough to cover the future cost of the renovation ... you still have a lot of intangibles and taxes/expenses to pay just for keeping employees employed with busy work.  Without income the likelihood of it making more sense to close down a business becomes greater.

*unemployment tax
*worker's comp expenses (businesses pays this, its the law)
*matching costs for health care (assuming the business offers any)
*matching costs for any other benefits packages
*OSHA expenses

There are others based on where you are, whether you are a DBA or a corporation or a partnership, based on the type of industry you are, etc.

Then you add into this intangible expenses:

Investopedia explains Intangible Cost
Ignoring intangible costs can have a significant effect on a company's performance. For example, let's examine a potential decision for a widget company to cut back on employee benefits. To improve profits, the firm wants to cut back $100,000 in employee benefits. When news reaches the employees of the cut-back, worker morale will likely drop. The widget production will likely be diminished, as employees focus on losing benefits instead of making products. The loss in production represents an intangible cost, which may be great enough to offset the gain in profits created by reducing employee benefits.

The above example isn't the only way a company can be affected by intangible costs.  You also have the correlation between a job being done for an hourly rate and a job being done on a salaried rate.  A business may have to choose whether to keep their salaried employees on and let the hourly wage earners go.  The reason?  A salaried employee could be contracted and they are going to get paid the same whether they work six hours per week or 60 hours per week.  An hourly employee will get paid based solely on hours worked.  If you already have to pay a minimum salary, why make that even worse by bringing on the hourly employees?

Another issue could be "hazard pay."  Even if all you have are hourly wage earners on your workforce, you may still have critical employees that you absolutely need to operate.  If those employees don't want to come in however you may have to offer incentives such as hazard pay.  So, instead of minimizing your payroll expenses you could feasibly be increasing them.

In addition to this, most business that are franchised such as a restaurant turn their receipts and such over to a payroll company and/or an accountant.  What if those two are not operating?  Where does that leave the business?  A payroll company (such as Paychex) helps manage expenses by printing pay checks, sending in the correct forms and dollars to the local and state and fed governments for taxes, etc.  The manage the yearly I99s, 1099s, W9s, etc.

A businesses decision to stay open or not will not just be dependent upon whether they want to keep their employees busy.  Or whether they have money for renovations or whatever.  Its going to be whether there will be enough income to cover ALL of the expenses associated with doing business.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

[ Parent ]
Money flow during a severe pandemic
Mexico City closed several public gathering venues for a week; they did not shut down the city.

Some companies plan to have employees work from home, and churchgoers were told to stay home and follow Sunday services on television.
The key word here is Some. SOME businesses had employees working from home, but not all. Churches are not open on a daily basis for large gatherings, like restaurants and bars. Most of the churches in Mexico are Catholic, and are funded both by local donations and Catholic Church expenditures, paid out of a general fund that the Church itself maintains.

Also just a many business open to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving they could offer their space for to help during a bad flu outbreak.

Thanksgiving is one single day out of 365 days, and is exclusively a US holiday. A severe pandemic would likely close businesses for several days, or even weeks, as the wave proceeded through their areas. They would not even have the option of "opening for business" for a single day "to help out", unless they had something that was absolutely necessary for the day-to-day lives of the people that live in that area. That in and of itself would leave out bars, restaurants, churches, museums, car washes, specialty stores, etc.

With businesses closed, money stops flowing. When money stops flowing, employees don't get paid, taxes don't get paid, rent doesn't get paid...
All in all, and we've discussed this many times since the inception of the Flu Wiki Forum, when a severe pandemic reaches out and touches everyone, everywhere, the economy will go in the tank. Even more so than it already is...

[ Parent ]
private tests for present flu, and later for immunity
anyone knows how much they cost?

I read it was around 300 US$, is that right?

A number of people will want to know if they had flu in the first wave.  Come to think of it, we'll all want to know if say GPs have had it already.

Not perfect protection, I know, just better chances.

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

There's a lab here, but I don't know what to look for.

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
Influenza testing
This site had a pretty good description of the PCR test that is commercially available. http://www.questdiagnostics.co...  However it is important to keep in mind that PCR tests for pieces of virus and not immunity.  In addition if the piece of virus is not in the specimen, NO test, however accurate can detect it.  In order to detect immunity a test for IGG or IGM is usually necessary.  I am not personally aware of such a test specific to Pandemic H1N1 2009 at this time that is commercially available.  I did a quick search and thought I found one but then realized it was a test designed for swine not humans, and not necessarily for Pandemic H1N1.  

[ Parent ]

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