H-SANTA MARIA

Jan 10, 2013 9:03 PM by Nikki Ibarra

Santa Maria business focuses on employee health, amidst national flu epidemic

This flu season is shaping up to be one of the nation's worst in the past decade. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Central Coast public health officials told KSBY's Nikki Ibarra its been a mild season so far.

Employees at the Santa Maria Inn's Garden Room restaurant are required to wash their hands each time they leave the kitchen. "We're basically on the front line. Where, if anybody can do it we can almost protect the employees and protect the guests more so than anything because so many have handled your food so you really want to make sure you're going that extra mile," said Thomas Munoz, food and beverage manager at the hotel.

The hotel recently offered flu shots to employees, knowing flu season was just around the corner. The CDC said the vaccine is the only way to prevent the illness.

"When one person calls in sick, you get two or three that call in sick and it's going to be one of the hardest of days sometimes where you can't afford it and you need those people," added Munoz.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates the flu, on average, will cost employers $10.4 billion dollars in hospital and outpatient visits.

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