Throughout this pandemic, our top priority has been about keeping our employees and their families safe. While we’ve settled in quite well to everyone working remotely, we are trying to figure out how to balance preventing the spread of COVID-19 with a desire to reopen business.
Within our previous update, our guidance for the studio was that working from home would continue until at least August 2020. We have updated our plans as the City of Austin remains at a Stage 4 COVID-19 risk-based level and the rate of hospitalization remains high throughout the city and surrounding counties. Toronto is just now starting to reopen businesses and the impact of that continues to be uncertain.
We have always strived to maintain transparency when looking ahead, in the decisions we have made, and how we plan to keep our employees safe. It is clear that we are not ready to consider reopening and as a result, we have not yet announced when we will be returning to work inside our studios as the situation continues to be fluid.
Our team has been diligently planning and coordinating our efforts, establishing strike teams to focus on specific aspects of our approach. Many of these efforts are already underway and continue to be refined as we get additional government guidance. In addition, we are working proactively with our architect and other experts on our reopening plan. We have let our employees know that we don’t have a date for our reopening at this time, but will give our team 30 days’ notice prior to when we are able to open safely.
While maintaining our business continuity and employee safety is our top priority, every day we are reminded of the importance of helping our local community. Over the years we have stood behind many incredible charitable causes to show our support and although we all are currently working from home, this year is no exception. We believe we can all do our part to give. We are limited at times as to how much we can give as a small business, and have doubled down our efforts since the start of the pandemic. This is the time more than ever to show our support, and some of these examples include:
- Working with ATX Supply (a non-profit charity) to donate 2000 masks to Dia’s Market
- Donating over 250 lbs of food and supplies to a local food bank, Caritas
- On-going purchases of gift cards in support of local restaurants and businesses both in ATX and TOR
- Company and employee direct contribution and donations to NAACP
- Supporting employee donations to Feed the Frontline (TOR) and Frontline Foods (ATX)
Given that we are still Stage 4 COVID-19 risk-based level in Austin, most recently we have decided to adopt St. David’s South hospital. Certain Affinity will be sending a large contingent of staff at the hospital a different food drop every other week for the next 3 months, ranging from sweet snacks to healthy meals.
St. David’s has been at the forefront during this pandemic as they were the first hospital taking in COVID patients in Austin. We understand the impact this has had on all of our frontline workers. We know how hard it has been for them month after month with no real sign of things slowing down. We wanted to do our part to help and we are hoping that this will inspire other businesses to follow our lead. We would like to express our thanks for ALL the frontline workers who continue to risk their lives and make personal sacrifices to keep us all safe.
We hope to see you back here soon for our next COVID-19 studio update, and that you continue to stay safe. If you’re interested in joining our team, we’re always hiring, so take a look at the Careers section as well. Thank you!