2020 and COVID-19 brought about many drastic changes in the cannabis industry. Thousands of small businesses closed by the end of 2020’s first quarter and millions of jobs were lost, but the cannabis industry was declared “essential” by governors who had been historically unsupportive of the industry.
With an impending lockdown, medical patients and recreational users alike started stockpiling product, leaving dispensaries struggling to keep product on the shelf. As a direct result, there was a tsunami-like influx in test samples.
MCR labs was faced with the challenge of balancing the sudden increase in productivity to keep up with growing testing demands, while simultaneously reducing the onsite workforce to maintain proper social distancing and safety. The primary goal was to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all MCR employees.The Human Resources department practically doubled the MCR workforce in 2020, while also becoming disease contact tracers for any COVID-19 exposures or positive tests with staff.
To mount an effective COVID response, a committee including executives and department representatives was formed, and met weekly to discuss COVID-19 policy, regulation changes and implementation of safety measures. Transparency and communication with staff was maintained, and a weekly “COVID-19 Situation Report” was emailed to all staff with resources for testing/vaccinations, public health education and updated company policies.
The committee enacted operating procedures, including daily work-entry temperature checks (to monitor for fevers), a no-fault stay at home policy for anyone experiencing Covid-like symptoms, daily checklists for each department to decontaminate work surfaces, and weekly environmental swabbing as well as staff mask testing for the presence of COVID-19 virus. All nonessential staff started working remotely, to help reduce possible exposures and create room for social distancing.
With zero work-based COVID-19 transmissions during the pandemic, and vaccines finally being released to the public, MCR labs remains diligent in successfully protecting a growing workforce in a rapidly expanding industry.
Want to hear more about MCR’s COVID-19 response? Tune in to my presentation this coming Tuesday at 4:55PM EST with the Analytical Cannabis Expo. You can register here.