Revised June 4, 2020

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list is being provided to Goodwill Houston Team Members to assist in gaining knowledge about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and where to turn for questions or concerns.  If you have a question that isn’t answered here or in our other resources, please reach out to your supervisor and/or Human Resources for further assistance.


What are the symptoms of the COVID-19?
Symptoms are similar to a respiratory infection and may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Some people — usually the elderly, the young or the immunocompromised (those with an inadequate immune system or existing chronic conditions) — may experience more severe symptoms, such as pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure or even death.


How can I protect myself from COVID-19

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the elbow of your sleeve. Don’t use your hands to cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Even if you are not ill, avoid visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you do need to visit one of these facilities, limit your time there and keep six feet away from patients.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, especially if you are at higher risk.
  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress to keep your immunity strong.
  • Clean household surfaces with standard cleaners.


What if I think I was exposed to the COVID-19?

If you believe you may have been exposed directly to COVID-19, it is recommended you avoid public places, including public transportation. Call your Primary care provider (or local public health agency) immediately to ask for guidance.


Baytown Health Dept. 281-420-5384
Brazoria County Health Dept. 979-864-2168 (After hours) 800-511-1632
Chambers County Health Dept. 409-267-2731 (After hours) 409-267-9862
Fort Bend County Health Dept. 281-342-6414 (After hours) 281-434-6494
Galveston County Health Dept. 409-938-7221
Harris County “Ask a Nurse” Hotline 713-634-1110
Harris County Health Dept. 713-439-6000 (After hours) 713-755-5000
Houston (City of) Department of Health 832-393-5169
Montgomery County Health dept. 936-523-5026 (After hours) 888-825-9754
Pasadena Health Dept. 713-475-5594


What do I do if I feel sick? 

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Do not go out in public when you are sick.
  • If you are ill in any way, call your doctor’s office first before going in.
  • Do not go to the emergency room unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
  • If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, stay home and self-isolate until you have contacted a healthcare professional.
  • HR has also provided fliers and additional information on how to utilize our Virtual Doctor services.
    (See Resource List Below)


Will I be paid for time I miss work if I am sick or need to be Quarantined?

You can use any PTO time you have, if your leave is associated to the pandemic.  If your PTO time is exhausted, please contact your HR Business Partner for assistance.


Will this be covered under my health benefit plan?

If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, Please contact your primary care provider or virtual doctor/nurse immediately for guidance. Diagnostic testing and supportive care will be covered under your health benefits plan. Health Plans are permitted to offer these services before the minimum High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) deductible has been satisfied.


What should I do if I don’t have medical coverage and need medical care related to the pandemic?

Call the Health Department number listed above in your county for further assistance.


How do I know if my location is closed?

All Goodwill stores and donation centers in the Goodwill Houston area have been closed under the Stay Home – Work Safe order.  We hope to reopen as soon as the order is lifted.  Please call your manager or the Goodwill Houston Employee Emergency Hotline, 713-609-9340, for specific information.  We will also update this information in the GWH Closures and Hours document in the Resource Links listed below. 


Can I leave donations at a store or donation center?

All Goodwill Houston locations are closed due to the Stay Home – Work Safe Order.  For the safety of our teams, donors, and customers, we cannot accept donations at this time.  Do not leave donated goods at the doors; but keep them at home.  We’ll gladly accept them once we can reopen after the order has been lifted.  Financial donations are always welcome and can be processed on our website at


What is Social Distancing, and how do I practice it at work?

Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions that are taken by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.  When you are working, practice healthy habits, sanitize your work area, engage in virtual meetings, try to maintain a distance of at least 3-6 feet from your coworkers, and avoid direct physical contact whenever possible. Currently under the Stay Home – Work Safe order only essential staff will be at our sites.  All others performing work will remain at home to work virtually.


Will I be paid if my location is closed?

Goodwill Houston will provide some continuation of pay benefits from March 21, 2020 through April 11, 2020.  Please refer to your management team and HR Business Partner for information any benefits that may be available for your position.


Will I receive continued pay if my location remains closed after April 11, 2020?

Goodwill Houston has had to make the difficult decision to begin furlough for some of our staff.  This furlough is a short-term, temporary unpaid leave of absence.  The furlough will remain in place where there is no work available starting April 12, 2020.  We hope to start to bring our Team Members back to work as soon as the Stay Home – Work Safe Order is lifted.  Furloughed employees may be eligible for unprecedented state and federal unemployment benefits to help sustain them until we can reopen.


When will I receive my pay?

Two weeks of your pay continuation will be issued on the regular pay date of April 10, 2020.  The final 3rd week will be paid on or before April 17, 2020.


Should I apply for unemployment?

If you have been notified that your position is furloughed, you do NOT need to apply for unemployment benefits.  Goodwill Houston will apply to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) on your behalf. If you apply individually, your benefits may be delayed.  The TWC will send you further instructions on how to request payment.


What happens to my sick and vacation time while on furlough?

Your sick time balance will be maintained and available to you upon returning to work.  Your vacation will be paid out to you on or before April 17th.


Will I be able to maintain health benefits?

Your health is very important during this critical time.  If you were previously enrolled in medical, dental, or vision programs offered through your employment at Goodwill, those benefits will remain intact during the time that you are on furlough.  Goodwill Houston will cover the entire cost of those plans until your furlough ends.


What should I do if my contact information changes?

It is important to stay connected during this time.  Please submit any changes to your mailing address, personal email, or phone to


How will I know when to come back to work?

Your manager will contact you directly when the furlough has ended and you are requested to return to work.


What should I do if I don’t plan to return to work after furlough?

Please contact Human Resources immediately to process the final benefits for your voluntary resignation.


Where can I go to find additional information on COVID-19

Additional information for the U.S. is available on the CDC website at  You can also reference your local county government websites.  Please stay tuned for additional news from the Human Resources team about any changes during this time.



Other available resources:

Would you like us to pray for you?If you would like us to pray for you, please submit your prayer request to: Prayer@goodwillhouston.orgIf you would like someone to reach out to you directly, please include your contact information.



We also offer a Virtual Services Job Connection Center and online orientations, to allow anyone to receive job training, education, and recourses from their computer or smart phone. You can visit to sign up or learn more.


Resource Links

Goodwill Houston Benefits

GWH Closures & Hours 3-24
Basic EAP Flyer – Employee


United Health Care Member Information
UHC EAP_Member_Flier_9925915.0

Employee Discounts

Unemployment Payment Information

Applying for Benefits Online for COVID-19 Claims Only

How to Request Benefit Payments

How to Request Benefit Payments Online