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The coronavirus pandemic impacted every business in different ways, not only worldwide, but from state to state and city by city. Some were able to convert much of their workforce to work from home, while others had to shut their doors entirely–some of those businesses will never reopen, and some are preparing to open for the first time in months. Even some all-digital companies have been hit by their customers facing lost or limited income and being unable to shop.
How you resume operations will depend largely on a few unique factors, like the area of the country you’re in or what kind of business you operate, but here are a few general guidelines that apply to most businesses nationwide:
Assess your business’s current cleaning, sanitation, and hygiene practices and measure them against CDC recommendations, making changes where necessary. This may include reiterating frequent and proper handwashing and sneezing or coughing into a tissue or elbow for your employees, or keeping a full stock of cleaning products and sanitizers for them to use throughout the day.
If personal protective equipment (PPE) is required for your business, make sure you and your employees understand the guidelines and adhere to them. This may also include providing customers with face masks and gloves, and/or encouraging your employees to wear cloth face coverings at all times. See the latest guidance for face coverings from the CDC here.
If your employees cannot telework, consider how your workspace can be changed or reconfigured to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Installing physical barriers and ensuring workstations are at least six feet apart is important, as well as closing communal spaces and staggering work shifts and breaks where possible.
While temperature checks might have been considered weird in 2019, they’re the thing to do in 2020. Your employees should expect to have their health monitored, with a particular focus on COVID-19 symptoms, to ensure everyone’s safety. Be sure to have protocols in place if you need to handle a positive case of COVID-19 in your workplace, and be sure to reiterate your sick time and paid time off policies to your employees. Make sure they know it’s okay to take time off if they feel ill.
Just as every business was impacted by COVID-19 closing things down, so will they be as things open. All businesses will face tremendous challenges as they relearn their customers’ behaviors in a post-coronavirus world. Many consumers and employees will be wary of venturing into enclosed spaces with other individuals, even if strict health and safety protocols are being maintained and enforced. There are unforeseen changes you might have to make to your business and operations to adapt, or you may need to seek additional growth opportunities to pivot into in order to successfully navigate a more health-conscious world.
For more specific reopening guidelines by state, see the US Chamber of Commerce’s State-by-State Reopening Guide. Federal resources include the CDC’s guidance for businesses and workplaces and their section for small businesses specifically.
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