Operating Through COVID-19
by Tompkins Solutions Staff

A summary of precautions, processes and protocols for maintaining safe operations


As we continue to maneuver through this difficult time, the need to understand how we keep business moving is more important than ever. How do we move product safely? How do we protect the individuals we are asking to work for us?

Tompkins International would like to help answer those questions. We have requested input from some of our longtime customers to discover how they are proceeding.

All information below is presented anonymously, and we hope you will find the information given useful.



Multinational retail corporation:

  1. Personnel to follow CDC guidelines if they have been:
    1. In contact with anyone who tested positive
    2. On a plane or outside the state
    3. Experiencing any symptoms
  2. Take temperature, cannot be above 100.
  3. Social distancing signs.
  4. Tape throughout facility at 6′ increments to help gauge the required separation distance.
  5. Masks are offered at entrance but are not required.

National clothing retailer:

  1. Support team has been given option to work from home.
  2. Only contractors that are allowed in the building are deemed essential to the DC
    1. Cleaning crew
    2. Caf associates
    3. HVAC
    4. Forklift maintenance
  3. Two RNs on-site for the first four hours of each shift.
  4. Thermal scanners at each entrance-any associate with a temperature of 100.4 or above needs to meet with on-site nurse.
  5. Masks and gloves available for associates at the start of their shift or can bring their own.
  6. Have a vendor in nights/week to perform electrostatic cleaning.
  7. Increased normal cleaning duties-includes three people per shift that work on disinfecting high touch areas.
  8. Air scrubbers in each breakroom and caf.
  9. Nine portable handwash stations added in larger departments.
  10. Foot openers added for all doors.

National auto parts retailer:

  1. All office personnel are working from home.
  2. All warehouse team personnel follow CDC and local government guidelines.
  3. Temperature scans and employee self-assessments are taken prior to each shift.
  4. Must practice social distancing and additional cleaning measures while working.
  5. No contractors allowed on-site other than cleaning and vending services.

Grocery retailer:

  1. All corporate employees are working from home.
  2. DC employees are still reporting to work. Trainers and HR are also on-site in DC as they are currently hiring.
  3. Only mission critical contractors (repairs, electrical fixes, mechanical fixes) are allowed in the building, and follow the same screening process as employees.
  4. When employees arrive, they queue up to get into the building maintaining adequate social distance. They enter a screening station where their temperature is taken by supervisors standing behind a plexiglass panel. Employees are asked the CDC questions (if they have a fever, are feeling ill, have been outside the country, etc.).
  5. Staggered start times and break times to minimize the number of employees in the breakroom or queueing to go through screening.
  6. Filling orders based on inventory available in each slot to minimize time spent in the building. If a picking location is empty, they are continuing with the rest of the order and not waiting for replenishments.
  7. Truck drivers are using portable restrooms outside of the facility.
  8. Guards at guard shack are staying 6 feet away from drivers.

National retailer of lingerie and sportswear:

  1. Vendors on-site are restricted unless deemed critical/essential.
  2. PPE is offered but not required.
  3. Temperatures are checked for all entering the facility.
  4. Scaled back on certain positions.

National bookstore, gift and specialty toy retailer:

  1. 6 feet social distancing.
  2. Dividers between stations.
  3. PPE offered to employees (optional not required).
  4. Coming to work is optional depending on comfort level.
  5. No vendors are allowed on-site unless deemed critical/essential.


Distribution center for e-commerce orders:

  1. All office personnel are working from home.
  2. Only contractors allowed in the facility are the nightly cleaning crew.
  3. When employees arrive for their shift, they are greeted by supervisors in the parking lot that take their temperature with an infrared thermometer.
  4. Have asked all employees to bring a mask. If the employee passes the temperature check, and they do not have a mask, they will be provided with one.

Online apparel, footwear and accessories business:

  1. Any non-essential workers have been sent home to work. 
  2. The customer service center operators are working from home.
  3. A professional cleaning crew comes in every other week to mist the buildings.
  4. All areas are doing extra cleaning daily in high touch areas.
  5. Added extra areas to clean to the daily checklist.
  6. On double lifts (heavy items with two people) they use N95 mask, but masks are not mandatory for regular work.
  7. Staying 6 feet away from each other. Glass shields in certain work areas to create additional distance.
  8. Reduction in the number of part-time employees.
  9. Not allowing any on-site vendor meetings or letting drivers/carriers into buildings.

Industrial Equipment/Parts

Provider of industrial equipment, technologies and parts/services:

  1. Pre-screened before entering and leaving facility.
  2. Masks and latex gloves are mandatory.
  3. Social distancing of 6 feet is required.
  4. The above rules apply to employees, as well as vendors.

National industrial parts/equipment company:

  1. Company is continuing to monitor the guidance from the CDC and continuously evaluates additional safety and health measures.
  2. Posting weekly communications regarding social distancing, handwashing and employee updates.
  3. Closure of on-site restaurant and coffee shop.
  4. Restricting facility visitors to nightly cleaning crew and other required equipment maintenance contractors.
  5. 95% of office staff are working from home. Those in the office have office spaces which follow social distancing guidelines.
  6. Meetings in conference rooms must follow social distancing guidelines.
  7. Providing face coverings and gloves for employees.
  8. Additional measures to ensure health and safety:
    1. Enhanced daily cleaning and sanitation efforts in all areas of the facility.
    2. Providing sanitizer in high-traffic areas, when washing areas are not available.
    3. Distributing disinfectant solutions throughout the building.
    4. Implementation and enforcement of social distancing guidelines – maintaining a minimum of 6 feet from other employees.
    5. Ensuring that employees who display any symptoms quarantine at home.
    6. All employees should continue to practice good hygiene including:
      • Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible and especially after touching any frequently used items or surfaces.
      • Avoid touching your face.
      • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
      • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
      • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, social visits and/or public places where more than ten people are present.
      • Encourage use of gloves and face covering.
  9. Flexibility for employees who wish to quarantine at home for fear of contracting the virus is welcome to do so with the option to take vacation, sick, volunteer, personal time or vacation advance as paid time or unpaid time.
  10. If an employee’s family member tests positive for COVID-19, taking the following actions:
    1. The employee quarantined for 14 days.
    2. Any employee in close contact with those exposed will begin quarantine period.
  11. Any employee demonstrating symptoms at any time should contact his or her manager and begin a 14-day quarantine.
  12. To protect the work environment and ensure safety, following CDC guidelines including maintaining social distancing, regular handwashing and frequent use of hand sanitizer placed throughout the facility.
  13. Daily cleaning and sanitation efforts throughout the facility.


Mid-sized national 3PL:

  1. Daily calls with executive team to discuss operations and support functions activity.
  2. Regular communication on website-News Tickertape-providing up-to-date information about operations.
  3. EVP holds weekly conference call with all building managers to discuss company operations.
  4. Executive sponsors assigned to top 30 accounts to have weekly calls and update these customers about the business and any impacts to their business.
  5. Proactive communication to customers on reduction of Fixed Management Fees due to layoffs/furloughs that have taken place.
  6. Executive team assigned to key accounts as escalation point for account receivables greater than 30 days.

National 3PL:

  1. The emergency response plan will include direction for a community-wide infectious disease outbreak such as pandemic influenza. This plan will:
    1. Build on the workplace practices described in the infection prevention and control policies.
    2. Include administrative controls (screening, isolation, visitor policies and employee absentee plans).
    3. Address environmental controls (isolation rooms and special areas for contaminated wastes).
    4. Address human resource issues such as employee leave and absenteeism.
    5. Be compatible with the company’s established safety, health and environmental plan.
  2. Company leadership will be vigilant and stay informed about potential threats around the world. Company leadership will be briefed as needed on potential risks of new infections in their geographic location through the changes to existing organisms and/or immigration, tourism or other circumstances.
  3. The safety department will publish and post in conspicuous areas within each location (restrooms, break areas, entrances, etc.) the best practices and precautions set forth to inform employees and others about steps to take to prevent the spread of disease.
  4. The company will ensure that its janitorial providers use disinfectant wipes or spray to sanitize specific areas each day.
  5. Each location management team is responsible for providing enough hand sanitizer for the employees and others at that location, to be placed in common usage areas like restroom, breakroom, employee entrances, time clocks, etc.
  6. The company’s locations will maintain a supply of voluntary-use, personal protective equipment (PPE) including dust masks and gloves that are available for use as requested.
  7. Each location will develop a contingency plan with their temporary employee vendors for increased sanitizing agents and voluntary PPE in the event of an outbreak.
  8. Company leadership has prepared to utilize existing and prospective temporary employment agency vendors, to fulfill the need for additional staffing to meet operational demands, in the event many employees are impacted within a geographic area of a distribution/warehouse location.
  9. As part of the emergency response plan, company locations will utilize internal and external janitorial resources for additional sanitizing and disinfection services where needed. Specific changes in janitorial cleaning, sanitizing or disinfecting services should be coordinated with the safety department and based on specific circumstances and recommendations from CDC, state agency and/or the local public health authorities.
  10. Self-screening: Staff will be educated on the company plan to control exposure. This plan will be developed with the guidance of public health authorities and may include:
    1. Reporting any suspected exposure to the infectious disease while off duty to their supervisor and public health.
    2. Precautionary removal of employees who report an actual or suspected exposure to the disease.
    3. Self-screening for symptoms prior to reporting to work.
    4. Prohibiting staff from reporting to work if they are sick until cleared to do so by appropriate medical authorities, and in compliance with appropriate labor laws.
  11. Person who exhibits symptoms should report to an isolation room (office) and notify Senior Management, Human Resources and Safety.
  12. Coordinate communications and other activities for the remaining employees at that site with Safety and Human Resources.
  13. If the suspected infectious person requires care, contact 911 immediately and follow the instructions of the operator.
  14. Keep the number of Safety, Operations and HR leadership assigned to enter the room of the isolated person to a minimum.
  15. If feasible, ask the isolated person to wear a facemask (Dust Mask) and gloves while Safety, Operations and/or HR leadership is in the room. Provide care at the level necessary to address essential needs of the isolated individual.
  16. Conduct control activities such as management of infectious wastes, cleaning of the isolation room, contact tracing of exposure individuals, and monitoring for additional cases under the guidance of local health authorities and in keeping with guidance from the CDC.
  17. Implement the isolation protocol recommended by local, state or federal public health authorities, in coordination with Safety and Human Resources.
  18. Activate quarantine interventions for staff with suspected exposure as directed by local and state public health authorities, and in keeping with guidance from the CDC, in coordination with Safety and Human Resources.


Tompkins International developed the following guidelines for fulfillment operations to help ensure the safety and health of our clients and their employees. The below recommendations are designed to aid contingency and planning efforts and mitigate any operational impacts or shutdowns related to COVID-19.

It is the responsibility of management staff to follow these guidelines and implement the necessary actions in order to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Control Procedure
As the coronavirus continues to spread, the CDC in the United States issues updated CDC guidelines, adding more countries to the risk list and raising the levels of risk for South Korea and Japan. It’s best to consider international travel carefully and consult with your immediate supervisor before going on a business trip.

For the most up-to-date travel guidance related to COVID-19, please check out the CDC travel notices.

As recommended by the CDC, non-essential travel to or through any Level 2 or Level 3 country should be avoided. We can evaluate all essential travel on a case-by-case basis.

If you are traveling to any Level 2 or Level 3 country for personal reasons, please contact HR before returning to work.

We also suggest being selective with air travel at this time, only flying when absolutely necessary.

As the situation continues to evolve, we are monitoring the situation in the region closely with your welfare our primary concern. Until further notice, we are enacting the following protocols:

Employees are required to work from home or take leave for 14 days if they have:

  • Traveled to any of the above countries in the past 14 days; or           
  • Not traveled, but may have been exposed to the coronavirus through contact with an individual that has recently traveled to or from China in the past 14 days.
  • In all cases, after 14 days employees are required to be evaluated and cleared by a medical doctor before returning to work.


  • Employees will be split into two teams working every other day to mitigate the risk of workforce contamination.
  • Workstations will be limited to two employees that will maintain at least 6 feet of separation between each other at all times.
  • All workstations, computer monitors, keyboards, scanning devices and printers will be sanitized with certified germ-killing solutions before the shifts begin, halfway through and at the end of every shift.
  • Hygienic gloves and hand sanitizer will be available at every workstation.
  • All drivers will also be required to practice social distancing.
  • During this time, no drivers will be allowed within the facility. BOL documentation will need to be placed in the back of each truck prior to backing to a dock door. All documents will be signed and placed back into the trailer. We will be informing the drivers of these policies upon arrival at the facility.

At this time, we are requesting anyone not feeling well to please stay home and see a doctor if flu-like symptoms persist. Additionally, please practice the fundamental healthy habits typically associated with flu season per CDC recommendations:

  • Staying home when displaying signs of illness
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Sneezing/coughing into one’s elbow sleeve
  • Seeking medical attention when illness is accompanied by a fever
  • Not sharing any personal products or food/beverage items with others
  • Frequent disinfecting/cleaning in homes, especially “touch points” (doorknobs, telephones, kitchen/bathroom areas, etc.)

Detection of COVID-19 in a Company Associate/Facility
Listed below are the minimum steps to be taken in case there is a confirmed diagnosed case of coronavirus with an employee or other person working at a company warehouse or facility.

Our approach when this happens will be to implement a control process to:

  1. Isolate the affected individual(s)
  2. Inform relevant parties
  3. Conduct a contact assessment of close contact and areas of occupied
  4. Contain the potential spread
  5. Clean working environments
  6. Return to normal at earliest opportunity

Local management should review this template and adjust accordingly to ensure that all local health authority recommendations and requirements for such a situation are fully considered and followed. Work with your national QSHE and HR teams if you have questions.

What triggers these containment and control measures?

  • When an individual/ employee confirms they have been positively diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus and has been in contact with colleagues and on company premises within the last two weeks; or
  • When management learns and confirms that an individual (visitor, contractor, carrier, etc.) has been positively diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus and has been in close contact with employees and on company premises within the last two weeks.

Your national QSHE and HR departments should help you determine if your situation meets the requirements to trigger these enhanced containment and control measures.

Containment and Control Steps to Take on a Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Diagnosis


Timing: Immediately


  1. If the diagnosed positive individual is still at work, they should be immediately isolated and sent for medical care or home (potential first-person contact).
  2. If the individual has an immediate household member that has been diagnosed positive, they should be immediately sent home (potential second-person contact).
  3. Affected individual will follow medical advice of healthcare providers and not return to work until medically cleared.


  • All positively diagnosed individuals have been isolated, sent to medical facility or home.
  • Unaffected/undiagnosed individuals sent home.



Timing: As soon as possible after being informed of positive diagnosis


  1. Local manager to notify national management and HR teams.
  2. Discuss next steps and communications strategy.
  3. Decision on temporary closure of facility, contact assessment and next steps.


  • Local team is notified and appropriate actions are taken.
  • National management and HR teams are notified and appropriate steps are taken to ensure affected associates are provided required information.



Timing: As soon as possible after being informed of positive diagnosis


  1. Analyze risk of potential spread to others by considering who they had ‘close contact’ with during the prior 14 days as well as what areas were ‘occupied’ during the prior three days.

    Definitions: ‘Close contacts’ are defined as being within approximately 2 meters (6 feet) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; being coughed on.

  2. Person(s) conducting contact assessments maintain social distancing and take any necessary precautions, PPE, etc.
  3. Talk to immediate colleagues to gain information regarding the affected individual’s movements within the facility.
  4. Determine what areas the affected individual has occupied or visited in the last three days:
    • Break rooms, canteens, kitchens
    • Restrooms, toilets
    • Working area, desk
    • Conference and meeting rooms
    • Etc.
  5. With this information, compile a list of:
    • Who else may have been subjected to the COVID-19 virus
    • A list of potential individuals that may need to be contacted/informed that may have been in contact with COVID-19 virus
    • Inform management, HR and QSHE of outcome of Contact Assessment.
    • Determine and agree what elements of emergency response plan will be activated.
    • Determine potential business impact.
    • Determine and agree what communication is required internally and externally.


Timing: As soon as possible


  1. Isolate and evacuate any area where the person has physically been in within the last three days. This is not necessarily a whole office/environment, but must be evaluated by local site management based on governmental/health authority guidance.
  2. Anyone with close contact to the person in the last 14 days must be put on self-quarantine; return to office permissible if symptom free after this period.
  3. All equipment necessary for remote working should first be wiped down/disinfected and then taken home by employees.
  4. Contact affected persons through call tree if available; these employees must be informed in personal one-on-one conversations.
  5. Work from home opportunities for those in quarantine whenever feasible.
  6. Employees must be given contact information for appropriate medical health providers/company insurance when applicable.
  7. Initiate full/partial facility closure as determined out of Contact Assessment to allow for deep disinfectant cleaning (see Step #5).


  • Impacted areas are closed/quarantined
  • Impacted individuals have been notified


Timing: As soon as possible




Timing: TBD



We will closely monitor this important situation and take additional actions as needed. If you have additional questions and/or concerns, please contact your direct management team lead in lieu of coming into work or scheduling in-office meetings.


For official government guidance on the coronavirus, its impact in various regions and precautionary measures advised globally, please visit the following links:

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

For more information from Tompkins International, please visit:
COVID-19 Resources

  1. Execute full cleaning as advised by local/national government authorities in areas and premises that have been identified/mapped in Step #3. Ensure the use of an authorized cleaning service for this.


    NOTE: It is recommended that a cleaning company be identified beforehand as part of national or local emergency response planning steps. Contact information should be readily available in your emergency response plan.

  2. Clean/disinfect:
    • Counters
    • Kitchen surfaces, condiment bottles
    • Doorknobs, railings
    • Lights, switch plates
    • Toilet room surfaces
    • Phones, computer, keyboard and mouse
    • Tables and chairs
    • Remote controls
    • Recreational equipment
    • Machinery and equipment (MHE, forklifts, conveyors, pallets, wrapping machines, etc.)
    • PPE
    • All other surfaces/items that were identified to be in contact with the affected individual in Step #4
  3. The area(s) of the facility being cleaned shall not be occupied by employees, other than limited management staff required to ensure security of the facility during the cleaning process.
  4. Once all cleaning activities have been completed, the facility may not be occupied until:
    • It is safe to do so. Refer to the advice of the cleaning company for the specific chemicals used for cleaning operations.
    • Management has communicated/authorized the branch to reopen.
    • At least 24 hours after the end of the cleaning activity for the cleaned area.
    • Approved supplier contracted to clean/disinfect the facility
    • Clean/disinfected facility has been determined safe to occupy
    1. Once cleaning/disinfecting services have been performed and it has been determined that the facility is safe to occupy, local management is to notify national management.
    2. National management will determine when the facility will reopen for normal business.
    3. Local management and customer relationship managers will notify all interested parties of the facility reopening date.
    4. Company employees will then return to work as advised.
    • National management is notified that cleaning/disinfecting services have been provided
    • Interested parties are notified when to return to work
    • Lessons learned and improvements are made as needed

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