Re: Response to Coronavirus

Athens Services’ core values focus on Service, People, and Environment. Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our employees and communities we serve is our highest priority.

Dear Community Leaders,

Athens Services’ core values focus on Service, People, and Environment. Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our employees and communities we serve is our highest priority.

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading in our communities, Athens is taking precautionary measures in response to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state, and local agencies to help minimize the spread.

Based on the information available today, and considering that waste collection is an essential service to the community, we will maintain standard operations and service schedules. We will continue to actively monitor and follow the CDC and local agencies’ guidance to keep our employees and communities safe. We join public health officials in encouraging our employees and customers to take preventive measures, such as washing hands frequently, practicing social distancing, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with tissue or arm, and ensuring that persons exhibiting flu-like symptoms remain at home.

To protect our employees and customers, Athens is cancelling meetings and tours at our offices and facilities for at least the next three weeks. We encourage customers and visitors to conduct their business with Athens over the phone, via email, or online, rather than coming to an Athens office. We have directed employees to avoid visiting other Athens locations beyond their “home” location as much as possible. Employees are also encouraged to work from home for any position that can be executed remotely. For other positions, we are reorganizing company workspaces to support safe distancing of employees and reduce risk of COVID-19 virus spread. That said, we intend to provide ongoing, high-quality customer support.

This emergency situation presents special challenges, such as personnel limitations, shipping restrictions, supply chain interruptions, and commodity markets constraints. At this point, there is no indication of the COVID-19 virus infecting our employees. To encourage prevention, we have developed protocols and operational contingency plans in case such an event occurs. However, the COVID-19 situation is quickly evolving, as illustrated by fast-changing economic conditions, new government guidelines, and expanding restrictions on businesses. We are continuously evaluating the situation and adjusting to continue providing the essential services to our customers and communities as we navigate these changes.

Given the current situation, effective March 18, 2020, Athens Services will temporarily discontinue hand sorting waste and recyclables at our Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) for the protection of our employees and the employees of our partners. As CDC guidance indicates, coronavirus may live on items for several days, so hand contact with waste and recyclables creates a significant health risk. We do not see any other option to safely continue with MRF-related operations. Athens Services’ MRFs will continue to function primarily as waste transfer stations with non-hand sorted diversion capabilities. This change will have an effect on our ability to divert waste from landfills, and in turn, may result in related impacts. However, we believe this is necessary in order to provide the critical service of waste collection and disposal while maintaining the health of our employees and the public in general.

We are committed to keeping you informed as this dynamic situation develops. To the extent we anticipate further impacts, we will keep you advised. For updates on your waste collection or service schedules, visit us at www.athensservices.com. For the latest news on COVID-19, please visit www.CDC.gov or www.who.int.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Together we can help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe and healthy.

Safety First, Always!

Sincerely,
Gary Clifford
Executive Vice President
Athens Services