Tips for Reopening Your Business Safely
For business owners, reopening their business in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic means navigating a new world of face coverings, social distancing, and decreased in-store capacity.
Creating a robust employee wellness plan and adopting safety measures such as social distancing, temperature check, and hand hygiene can reduce the spread of the coronavirus. You can provide this information to customers and display local health guidelines to effectively communicate the new protocols.
Many of the recommendations from the CDC also apply to a home setting and are great resources for parents wondering how to teach their child to stay safe. Is your business preparing to reopen? Here’s what you need to know in order to resume operations safely.
How to Prepare Your Business for the Transition
Wharton Business School recommends creating a knowledge base of standards from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for health-related concerns or The Federal Financial Institution Examination Council (FFIEC) to help you budget for a contingency plan for future events such as a global pandemic.
Before employees return to your physical office or place of business, order enough hand sanitizer and Personal Protective Equipment such as facemasks to last at least a few weeks.
Creating an Employee Education and Wellness Plan
Employee wellness programs should include traditional perks such as fitness classes and tips on how to eat healthier foods. Post-COVID-19 wellness plans and ongoing training should include topics such as social distancing, cleaning hard surfaces, and doing daily wellness checks such as temperature readings and hand hygiene reminders.
Consider sending curated health tips via email or text to employees. You can create digital flyers and display them in prominent areas for guests and employees. Sending email updates on the latest COVID-19 developments in your area can help your employees plan their workload. This is especially important if some employees continue to work from home.
Webinars can take the place of in-person meetings. Schedule a 60-minute window for educational information plus questions and answers. Suggested topics include mental health, stress management, ergonomics at home and in the office, healthy eating and fitness.
Whether you are at your office, home or business location, it’s important to keep commonly touched surfaces clean. For common surfaces such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, and light switches, develop a cleaning routine such as the following:
- Clean the surface with soap and water.
- Use an EPA-approved disinfectant to kill the remaining germs.
- Prohibit in-person meetings. Encourage employees to use Zoom and other software to meet safely online.
- Sanitize frequently handled items such as dishes, flatware, water dispensers, and coffee pots.
Customers may wonder where the rules for PPE, temperature checks and social distancing come from. Posting a signage with the latest directions from local and state officials can take some of the heat off your employees in case there are customers who are reluctant to wear masks or maintain social distancing.
Make it easy for customers to maintain hand hygiene with sanitizer stations outside restrooms and at the entrances and exits of your business.
Good to know during this special time: At Physicians Premier, your Austin ER, we have a separate area for COVID-19 cases. This ensures the safety of those who are not affected and helps patients with COVID-19 symptoms get the care and testing they need.
“Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020” CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
Minsky, Steven, “Coping with Coronavirus: Five Strategies to Mitigate Business Risks,” 17 Mar. 2020, https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/coping-coronavirus-five-steps-mitigate-business-risks/
“Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes,” 7 May 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html
List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19),” https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19