As states begin to test the waters of reopening, it’s time for many of us to think about how we can optimize our businesses to accommodate new best practices. From increased social distancing to enhanced cleanings, it’s clear that we likely won’t be able to operate exactly how we did pre-COVID. As landlords, owners and renters ourselves, we’ve assembled a clear plan for how we will reopen, and how we will encourage others to reopen as well.
Create a Plan
The first thing that any business owner should do is create a plan that’s in line with your state’s specific reopening guidelines. After identifying governmental rules, you’ll need to establish your own clear objectives and rules for reopening. If you prefer more stringent guidelines, make note of that in your plan.
A few aspects we suggest covering in your plan include:
- How will you handle cleanings?
- How will you control the number of customers in store?
- What equipment will you provide to your staff?
- How will scheduling work?
You should try to provide as much information as possible in your plan. Nothing is too minute. For example, if you own a restaurant and will only use disposable silverware and single-use menus, you should plan how to implement and communicate this.
It’s important to prepare for as much as you possibly can so that you are ready to handle potential situations before they happen.
Prepare Your Team
After you’ve created a plan for your business, it’s time to prepare your team. Start by communicating new procedures and guidelines to your team as well as what you plan to provide as protective measures. Be prepared to answer any questions and address concerns. This is new territory for all of us, so it may require more time than you anticipated.
Prepare Your Customers
In the wake of COVID-19, you may plan to reduce the number of customers, change your hours or temporarily not accept cash. You need to communicate this to your customers so they are aware of what to expect before they enter your store. Update your website and use social media, email and signage to share new guidelines. Customers will feel safer and more prepared if they know what to expect before coming in. As with your employees, your customers will likely have questions, so be patient and share as much information about your plan as necessary.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Cleaning is more necessary now than ever. Be sure to conduct daily or weekly deep cleans along with frequent cleanings of high touch surfaces. For retailers this can include disinfecting things like the cash-wrap, fitting rooms, rest rooms, door knobs, etc. You may find it helpful to create a schedule or checklist so that you aren’t missing any area.
As we’ve mentioned thus far, communication is extremely important. You need to continue to keep employees, customers and even your landlord informed. By sharing as much information as necessary, you will be able to manage expectations and gain trust. As a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to work with these parties to facilitate a safe, welcoming environment.
For more information, head over to the CDC website for updates and additional recommendations. We urge everyone to maintain a high level of sanitation and protective measures to minimize the potential spread. We can all do our part by safely and carefully preparing for reopening.
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