Just because you may be given the clear to re-open your business doesn’t mean you can simply show up to unlock the front door tomorrow like nothing has happened. While getting back to business is important, it’s critical — for the safety of your employees, customers, and business — that you do so safely.
Here are some guidelines to follow as you reopen your business.
Develop and Follow Safety Protocols
How will your business operate under our current “new normal”? Can you maintain operations while also complying with state and local requirements? These are two questions to ask yourself in order to develop safety protocols for your business. A few basic requirements include:
- Cleaning and disinfecting your business prior to reopening, and then scheduling regular and frequent cleanings once open.
- Setting up barriers or changing the layout of your business to maintain social distancing among employees and/or customers. This may include moving tables, desks, and other furniture further apart, closing communal spaces, creating one-way aisles, and moving restaurant tables outside, just to name a few.
- Train employees to understand and follow the safety protocols you develop.
Help Prevent the Spread of Illness
What can you do as a business owner to help prevent the spread of illness even as you reopen? This depends a lot on the type of business you own.
- Allow remote work whenever possible.
- Encourage curbside, delivery, or drive through ordering and pick-up.
- Take your brick and mortar business online to allow customers to shop or heavily promote any online purchasing options you may already have.
- Consider whether you will require or suggest wearing masks for customers entering your establishment.
- Remind your employees to wash their hands regularly. Require and make available face marks and other PPE as needed to keep employees safe.
- Encourage employees to stay home if they’re sick — and make it easy for them to choose that option.
- Consider changing schedules or hours of operation to reduce how many employees are in a single space at one time. If you typically work a single shift (8am to 5pm) consider a staggered shift or split shifts.
- Provide tissues, hand sanitizer (where available), and extra trash cans to easily clean up germs.
- Discourage employees from sharing equipment or work spaces, unless you have a strict disinfectant protocol in place.
- Consider installing high-efficiency air filters or increasing ventilation to help slow the spread of COVID-19 while employees and/or customers are in the building.
Monitor the Ongoing Situation
Once reopened, it’s not enough to have more safety precautions in place. You need to be actively aware of the situation in your area. If cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, it may be safer and wiser to close temporarily or make adjustments in scheduling or hours of operation. At the same time, if one of your employees contracts coronavirus, you should notify the local health department in case they have guidance or protocols of their own on what to do next — within your business and for your customers.
Only you can decide for yourself if it’s time to reopen your business and if you can do it safely. If you have questions about COVID-19 and your insurance, or any other business insurance concerns, contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’re here to help.