This blog is part 2 of our 4-part series on everything you need to know to reopen your business post COVID-19 closures. Part 1 explains how to develop your business reopening plan; this post covers what should be done once you’re open; part 3 is all about the different cleaning methods you could implement; and part 4 is about finding a partner to help you do it all.

Congratulations! You were able to reopen your business! While this is a really exciting time, it’s important to remember that the battle is not over quite yet. Just because you are open doesn’t mean you will be able to stay open, and whether or not you remain open may not be totally in your control, especially if government mandates change. However, setting yourself up for success with a business disinfecting plan and COVID-19 response plan will set you out on the right foot.

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Follow Your Reopening Plan

Implement your plan to the best of your ability – but be flexible and open to change if needed.

Creating Your Business Disinfecting Plan

Proper cleaning protocols and business disinfecting plans must be a top priority for all business owners. Without these processes in place, it will be impossible to bring back customers and stay open. It’s recommended that you find a safety consultant who can help evaluate risks, develop and implement a cleaning plan, and ensure protocols are met. An ideal safety consultant will also be able to provide cleaning services on a regular basis and provide materials to help communicate your procedures.

Masks and barriers, and cleaning and sanitation protocols, are the top priorities for consumers when deciding what businesses to go to.

Proper Signage

Ensure the required legal signs regarding COVID-19 protocols are visibly in place around your business. In addition, it’s critical to communicate the other things you are doing to keep customers safe and any changes that customers might have to know.

On-Hand Supplies

Stock up on required supplies and make sure those supplies stay stocked. These include not only new supplies related to COVID-19 operations but any additional supplies needed to prevent sharing and reuse of equipment. Keep in mind the continued potential for interrupted supply chains and keep extra stock on hand. Consider if you need multiple suppliers.

Critical supplies:

  • PPE for employees
  • Masks for customers
  • Cleaning supplies and disinfectants
  • Antimicrobial hand sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Single-use products

Reevaluate the Plan

Make sure to reevaluate your opening plans and business disinfecting plan once things have been up and running for a while. Make it easy for customers and employees to provide feedback and regularly review it to see how to improve. You may choose to keep things going as is, but regularly reevaluating plans will make it easier to stay on top of all the latest requirements and customer expectations.

As government regulations change, your plans will need to change too – make sure you leave some wiggle room for ongoing modifications.

Communicate and Recommunicate

As things continue to evolve, businesses need to communicate and recommunicate everything they are doing to protect customers and employees – especially if and when those things change.

There are so many changes that people can’t keep track of what kinds of businesses are open and which aren’t and what restrictions they are operating under. Many consumers are fearful of returning to businesses if they don’t know how businesses are operating – and would rather err on the side of caution.

Customers are confused, and the businesses that consistently communicate that they’re open, they’re safe, and they’re convenient will thrive while even established businesses that fail at this will wither and die.

Be Where Your Customers Are

COVID-19-related rules and regulations have been consistently inconsistent across the board. Let customers know about your business disinfecting plan, so they know everything that has been done and is continually being done to protect them. Make sure this is communicated everywhere they could be lurking:

  • Send frequent emails or SMS updates to let existing customers know that you’re open and what you’re doing to keep them safe
  • Update local listings with details on how services are being offered (by appointment, delivery, takeout, outdoor, etc.) and updated hours
  • Include pop-up banners on websites or within apps to notify customers of the reopening and new procedures
  • Signage within your business should include any locally mandated signs as well as additional details about how your business procedures have changed (cash only, no fitting rooms, the removal of amenities, etc.)
  • Follow up with surveys. Customers will continue to come back as long as they feel comfortable. Follow up visits by surveying customers to see how they feel and get insights about how they think things should be changed

COVID-19 Response Plans: Sick Policies and Procedures for Employees

Sick policies must be reevaluated to ensure that employees not only have the option to stay home when they feel sick – but that they are actively encouraged and required to do so. According to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employers must provide employees with paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave if employees cannot work because of COVID-19 symptoms, quarantining, or childcare. This is especially important as we move into flu season. Employers should treat all illnesses as if they could be COVID-19 and make business operation modifications accordingly.

Keeping everyone healthy is critical. Sick employees could result in a rapid downhill slide into bankruptcy resulting from customers’ defections, lawsuits, and lost productivity.

Make sure sick employees stay home!

Beyond human compassion – a reputation as an “infected” business is not something many organizations will survive.

Get Help with Your Business Disinfecting Plan

Two of the most essential components of staying open are your business disinfecting plan and your COVID-19 response plan. Having these plans in place will allow you to keep your employees and customers safe while also helping them feel more comfortable about returning to your business. Creating an effective plan requires bringing together numerous business elements including budgets, schedules, etc. No matter how you look at it, it’s complicated. That’s why we recommend finding a disinfecting partner who can help evaluate your business operations and needs and provide insight into the best business disinfecting plan for you.

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