As we continue to see cases of the virus escalate in Wisconsin, it is critical that banks that have not already done so, begin immediately separating on-site staff into groups or tiers, and have plans in place to ensure continual staffing of all open branch locations. It is very possible that some bank staff will catch the virus and if one employee tests positive for COVID-19, all staff who have been around that person in a branch should self-quarantine for 14 days. Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends that employees who are told they have a medium or high-risk exposure should be excluded from work for 14 days during which they should monitor for symptoms and/or fever. Employers with staff who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue home isolation when at least seven days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness. See CDC guidance.

To ensure continual staffing ability so you don’t have to shut down a location affecting your customers, you should separate your staff into different groups, or tiers, so that not all of your key staff could be affected if one employee becomes sick with the virus. Some banks have separated their staff into two or three distinct teams of people such that the same small group works in the branch one week, while the next small group works in the branch the following week. Another suggestion is to have a limited small group continually staffing each location but have another tier of staff who are not at that location, ready to take over a particular branch location in the event that someone becomes ill. Others are contacting retired staff to engage them on an as-needed basis only as part of their pandemic planning. All banks must be planning for this potential circumstance; however, it is particularly critical for smaller banks with very few locations and an already-lean staff.