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VERIFY: Do businesses have to inform their employees of a positive COVID-19 case?

We have been getting messages from you, our viewers, asking if your business has to tell employees or the public if they have a positive case, so we verified.

MACON, Ga. — Businesses are open, but COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still going up here in Georgia.

We have been getting messages from you, our viewers, asking if your business has to tell employees or the public if they have a positive case.

So do they?

Sarah Hammond spoke to North Central Health District Spokesperson Michael Hokanson and referred to Governor Brian Kemp's executive order to verify.

Hokanson says it depends.

"Certain employers might have a legal or company obligation to tell their own employees about certain workplace exposure to communicable diseases, including COVID-19," he says. "That is on the type of business, their parent company’s policy, their local company’s policy."

He says there is no state law requiring them to disclose that.

It various from business to business.

Governor Brian Kemp's executive order also says nothing about businesses having to inform their employees.

What about their customers?

"They have no obligation to release any details about COVID-19 in their workplace to the public," says Hokanson.

In a previous story, we also verified that businesses are not required to close down to clean if they come across a positive case.

RELATED: VERIFY: Do restaurants have to close to clean if they have a positive COVID-19 case?

So, what can employees or customers do if they know a restaurant, hotel or car dealership isn't following the CDC guidelines?

"They can use the constituent services form on the governor's website. They can report any instances of not taking the proper procedures through there," Hokanson says. 

He says they have been getting lots of calls from people reporting businesses, but the environmental health division can only go in and investigate places the public health department permits and regulates, like hotels, restaurants, and public pools.

"To those businesses that are operating, we definitely ask everyone to do absolutely everything they can to ensure the safety of their workers and clients."

There is also a bill sitting on Governor Brian Kemp's desk that protects companies from legal liability for cases of COVID-19 unless they show "gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm." 

So we can verify that businesses are not required by the state to tell their employees or their customers if they have a positive case of COVID-19, but there is a way to report them if they are not following CDC guidelines.

RELATED: What is considered 'exposure' to COVID-19? Macon business owners advised on how to handle infections

RELATED: Georgia Senate passes bill to protect businesses from lawsuits over COVID-19

RELATED: VERIFY: Requirement to wear a face mask does not violate constitutional rights

RELATED: VERIFY: OSHA does recommend face masks in public and businesses

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