Is it time to reopen your business? Here’s what you need to know
Many businesses are beginning to reopen, and many more are at least thinking about it. But there will be changes to the way business is done – maybe permanently. When should you reopen? What changes do you need to make? Here are some things to think about.
Understand your state’s requirements
State governments are the ones that determine when and what types of businesses can reopen to the public.
Some states are re-opening in phases. In Massachusetts, for example, there will be four phases, and the type of business dictates when they’ll be allowed to reopen. And the distinctions can be important. Hair salons can open in phase two, but nail salons are in phase three. Restaurants are in phase three, but bars cannot reopen until phase four.
The US Chamber of Commerce has a state-by-state guide to reopening that explains what’s required in each state. It’s updated regularly, so you can stay on track with changes in your state.
Talk to your employees
It’s important that your employees feel safe at work, for many reasons. Talk to them to see who feels comfortable coming back, and in what capacity. Remember that you may have employees who are young and healthy, but who could be caring for someone who’s elderly or immunocompromised, so they may not want to come back due to the risk of transmitting the virus.
Engage your employees in the discussion about safety protocols, too. Employees who collaborate with you to identify the procedures that are required for protecting themselves and cleaning the facility may be more likely to comply with them.
Create a reopening plan
The type of business you have will determine what your reopening plan looks like. Most businesses will need to plan for enhanced cleaning measures and protective gear for employees. Some will also need to enact social distancing measures.
Outline what will need to change in your business in order to make sure that:
• any surfaces that employees or customers touch are adequately cleaned
• customers and employees are protected with masks and gloves, as needed
• your floor plan allows for a minimum of six feet of space between people who are on the premises.
The CDC has detailed guidance for reopening that covers cleaning, disinfection, social distancing, and appropriate use of gloves and masks.
Plan for more closures
Many infectious disease experts are predicting at least one more ‘wave’ of coronavirus cases, which could mean businesses may have to close all over again. While that is discouraging to think about, it’s also important to plan for. Since we’ve been through this once already, use what you’ve learned about making your business work even if you can’t have customers walking in the door to prepare for a second – or third – wave of closures.