If you had to shut your business during the pandemic in 2020 and you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity to open it again, you might be wondering how to do so safely. The truth is, there are some extra steps you need to take to reopen your company safely for yourself, your employees, and your customers or clients. Since we are only in the vaccination stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all still need to be cautious about spreading the virus while we do our part to stop it for good.
Your patrons will look to you to provide the same service you did before March 2020. Unfortunately, doing so isn’t as simple as opening your doors, and if you want a successful reopening, you need to have everything in place before welcoming your community inside.
Define Your Internal and External Policies
Check with your state and county to see if there are any requirements you need to abide by in order to deal with the public. You may need to incorporate a maximum capacity of people in your store or install plexiglass. Also, it might be a good idea to invest in an air filter if you have a lot of people entering and exiting your business.
If it’s only you and your employees, will you require COVID tests and, more importantly, can you? If employees want to work from home and it’s possible for your business to function like that, it may be worth offering as an option.
Requiring masks is a policy typically up to the business owner, so decide where you stand on that and prepare to defend your position. Remember, it’s your business, and you can enforce any rule you see fit to protect yourself and your employees.
Make the Rules Clear
For customers and employees to follow the rules, they have to be clear. So, in addition to communicating the rules of your business, be sure to post them in plain sight. That way, if someone isn’t following your regulations, you can communicate your policy and point them in the direction of your signs.
As long as your policies are clearly defined and displayed, you should have an easier time enforcing them when the time comes. But remember to be polite because even though there is a guide to handling Google reviews for your business, you want positive reviews and happy customers.
Run the Numbers
Based on the information you discover about your state and county’s policies, calculate your cost of opening versus your projected revenue and decide if you can reopen at all. If it’s not economically possible right now, maybe you could look into conducting your business online until your business can turn a profit again.
Have a Contingency Plan
If you find that you can open and stay afloat, you still need to account for possible employee absences due to sickness. Not only might they get sick and have to quarantine, but they might need to take care of family members. Be sure you have the resources to cover their work and determine how long you can run your business with the least number of people. Decide what you’ll do if you hit that number and reach out to temp agencies in the event you need them.
Prepare for a Surge
The vaccination plan is rolling across the world, but nothing is 100%. Not only that, vaccinations are not mandatory, so there’s no telling how long it will take for herd immunity to kick in and protect those who cannot receive the vaccine. As evidenced by the controversy with Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, setbacks can happen, and if a surge happens, you have to be prepared to shut your doors again.
Opening Your Doors and Keep Your Business Viable
If you plan to open your business, make sure you’re ready for all that entails. While it can be exciting to get back out there, keep in mind that your business might not feel like it used to. But the better you can roll with the punches of today’s world, the higher the chances are you will come out successful on the other side.
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