Flu Season Prep: Using Pennsylvania taverns to get ahead
Bartenders, servers encouraged by PLBA, Health Secretary to get flu shot
(Harrisburg, Pa. – 9/10/18) Health care officials in Pennsylvania have a new friend in dealing with the upcoming flu season.
Across the state, tavern owners are being encouraged by the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage Association (PLBA) and health care officials to help keep themselves and their staffs healthy this coming fall and winter by suggesting they get a flu shot.
“No tavern or restaurant owner wants to see their employees at home sick or even worse in the hospital,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBA. “You certainly don’t want them working while being under the weather, and missing staff can negatively impact business. There’s just too much risk of spreading the flu to other staff or patrons.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza causes thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in lost productivity each year nationally.
For employers and employees that comes to a loss of nearly 17 million workdays each flu season. Furthermore, tens of thousands of people end up in hospitals, eventually impacting the cost of health insurance.
In Pennsylvania, between October 2017 and May 2018, there were more than 121,000 confirmed influenza
cases. That doesn’t consider others who may not have gone to their doctor to be tested. Allegheny County alone had 12,676 reported cases.
In an article published in the September edition of Pennsylvania Observer, the official magazine of the PLBA, Rachel Levine, MD, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and Physician General, urged tavern owners to get a flu shot and to encourage their employees to do the same.
“Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and those you come into contact with from the flu,” Secretary Levine said in the article. “Anyone who works in a public setting, surrounded by other people, is aware of the need to take precautions to remain healthy and safe.”
There will be some people who are unable to get a flu shot due to health reasons, but Secretary Levine believes that other than those exceptions, it’s a good idea to be vaccinated.
“The flu shot is safe, effective and the best form of defense against the flu,” she said.
Ena Saini, MD, a physician with Geisinger Holy Spirit Infectious Diseases in Camp Hill, supported Secretary Levine’s advice. She encourages her patients to get a flu shot annually and says it’s important for those in the hospitality industry to be cautious.
“Someone working in a restaurant or tavern may come in contact with hundreds of people every day,” said Dr. Saini. “All it takes is one contagious person to put others at risk. When that happens your first line of defense to protect yourself from getting sick is a flu shot.”
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The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage Association represents retail licensees in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed after Prohibition in 1941 to ensure the legality, protection, and prosperity of the state’s liquor and beer retail licensed businesses. From corner bars, delis and neighborhood taverns to five-star restaurants and resorts, PLBA’s industry supports more than 100,000 Commonwealth jobs, and remains an established, important part of our communities. To learn more about the PLBA, visit www.pataverns.com. The PLBA can be followed on Twitter via @TavernPA. Chuck Moran can be followed on Twitter via @ChuckMoran7.