Early Briefing: Prepping for Swine Flu

At Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, an emergency operations center has been opened with large monitors hanging on the wall tracking the progress of swine flu. Signs have gone up in restrooms at Marriott International in Bethesda with proper hand-washing guidelines. Pepco officials are making sure employees have proper computer access to work from home. Office building landlords are more vigorously scrubbing frequently touched surfaces like elevator buttons.
Across the country, businesses took steps last week to prepare for a flu pandemic. The corporate lingo being tossed around on conference calls and best-practices tip sheets: preserve continuity of operations and prepare social distancing policies. Translation: Be ready for employees to be sick or unable to get to their desks because they need to take care of their children.

Supermarket chain Giant Food has added handheld scanners at about 60 of its 182 stores in the Washington area that allow customers to tally the cost of their groceries as they shop. The scanners were introduced in the fall and have been phased in over the past several months, said Bob Bennett, director of front-end operations and customer service for Giant Food, based in Landover. They are being used in about 1 million shopping trips each month at Giant and its sister chain, Stop & Shop, the company said.

Sunrise Senior Living of McLean said it will cut 150 jobs and replace its chief financial officer. The company said it has identified positions at its corporate headquarters, in Germany and in its regional support group that will be eliminated. Sunrise, which employs 40,000 people, said it will record a $4.5 million charge in 2009 because of the cuts. The cuts will be completed by early next year and are expected to reduce expenses by $20 million a year, the company said.
The company also said its finance chief, Richard J. Nadeau, will step down on or before June 15. Julie A. Pangelinan, the company's chief accounting officer, will succeed him.

By Terri Rupar  |  May 5, 2009; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch , Morning Brief
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