Until further notice, Panama City Beach employees will be screened each morning as they pull into work at the city’s municipal complex.

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PANAMA CITY BEACH — Proactive measures are being taken to protect city employees.


Until further notice, all Panama City Beach employees will be screened for symptoms of the COVID-19 virus each morning as they pull into work at the city’s municipal complex.


The screening, done by members of the Panama City Beach Fire Rescue, began this week. It includes a temperature check and some general-health questions.


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"This is in an effort to slow the rate of the virus’ transmission," said Ray Morgan, beach fire rescue deputy. "It also is an effort to make sure our staff city employees’ health is taken care of.


"We’re also looking to keep this city open and operational by keeping as many healthy employees as we can," he added. "We still have to serve the public regardless of what happens."


For Lori Philput, PCB’s human resource and risk management director, these additional steps to combat the coronavirus are a great idea.


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"Any way we can protect each other from this very contagious pandemic (is what) we should be doing," Philput said.


She wasn’t aware of any push back from employees.


"The employees that I have spoken to want to be protected," Philput said. "They don’t want to get sick."


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She, along with Morgan, agreed it’s a good idea for every business and organization to screen their employees right now.


"Obviously, nobody really likes the questions, but it’s something that’s necessary and I think that everybody realizes the seriousness of the situation," Morgan said.


He added that anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home — as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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As of Tuesday morning, no one had failed the test.


To protect themselves, the examining firefighters are equipped with gloves and masks. While screening is a good way to catch someone visibly sick with the coronavirus, people can still be asymptomatic, Morgan said.


"Really, there’s no way around that," he added. "Some transmission is just going to happen. This is to do our best to keep it at a pace that’s manageable."