Coronavirus remains a looming threat and businesses across the Garden State are getting ready just in case there’s a widespread outbreak. On Wednesday, the state reported its first positive case in a Fort Lee man who was hospitalized on March 3.

Many companies have already starting sanitizing surfaces in common areas where employees work and encouraging employees to practice good hygiene. But health experts say that more significant steps could also be taken, such as canceling international and domestic travel.

The New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center and the Atlantic City Convention Center have not canceled or postponed any planned events on their published schedule, but things could quickly change depending on whether coronavirus begins to spread.

According to Michele Siekerka, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, many companies are at least somewhat ready to have employees work remotely if any quarantine is ordered by state officials.

“More often than not New Jersey businesses are much more prepared today than they would have been a decade ago. Living in a post-[Superstorm] Sandy world here, I think Jersey businesses learned all about emergency preparedness.”

She said companies will employ technology to continue to move forward even if no one comes into the office for a while. That includes being able to log into computer systems remotely and using video-conferencing to stay in touch.

She pointed out some businesses will be better able to handle this than others.

“If you are in manufacturing, you do something literally on site where you use your hands to build or create something, that’s going to create a unique challenge,” she said.

“If you’re not exercising a culture of remote work environment, that’s something that could come back to bite you right now.”

Siekerka pointed out NJBIA recently hosted a webinar with state health officials to discuss coronavirus related safeguards to help businesses be prepared.

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