Business owners are reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the threat of this virus is not over, there are a number of communities that have been able to get the pandemic under control. As brick and mortar stores are allowed to re-open, it leaves business owners with lingering questions. Re-opening a store after lockdowns is a cumbersome task; business owners have to take all measures necessary to protect their employees and the public.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the thought of re-opening your business during an unprecedented pandemic, here’s some helpful information to get you started.
Check with Local and State Governments
Before you can open up, it’s important to make sure you understand all regulations set forth by your city, county, and state. Many government websites have informative checklists, re-opening guidelines, and other resources to help you understand best practices for doing business during COVID-19. You can visit coronavirus.gov for more information and resources.
If anything is unclear, give the appropriate government organizations and agencies a call. It’s best to have a complete understanding of how you are expected to conduct your business in a way that’s safe for you, your employees, and your customers.
Developing a Cleaning and Sanitizing Protocol
Since the pandemic will be an ongoing concern for a while, it’s wise to have a system in place to keep your store as sanitary and clean as possible. This could mean a cleaning protocol of wiping down high-contact surfaces like door handles and cleaning public restrooms with appropriate disinfectants. It is also helpful to place hand sanitizing stations at the cash register, entrances, and near restrooms.
You also will need to have a streamlined plan of attack in the event that someone is exposed to COVID while at your store. This may involve cleaning various parts of your business with disinfectants or closing shop to quarantine your staff. All employees should have clear instructions for daily cleaning and disinfecting as well as clear procedures for disinfecting the store after potential exposure to COVID.
The EPA has published a list of effective disinfecting products for COVID-19, which you can view by clicking here. Be sure to place copies of product usage directions where your employees can find them. Improperly or inadequately using disinfectants will affect their efficacy.
Purchase PPE and Other Protective Products
You and your employees will need personal protective equipment (PPE). Face masks, especially the N95 variety, can greatly reduce your risk of infection and transmission. Nitrile gloves are also helpful for lowering risks to employees and customers. Your store should be well-stocked with hand sanitizer and hand soap.
If you decide to utilize plastic partitions at cash registers, it is important to purchase what you need and install it before opening.
Have Appropriate Signage
Your customers will likely experience some fear and hesitation about being in public again. Signage can help assuage their fears and establish what you expect from your patrons. Requiring face masks before entry is an important element in controlling the spread of COVID-19. Hanging well-made signs in your storefronts and throughout your store dictating your policy on mask wearing is important. You can also have signage that details what steps you and your employees are taking to keep everyone safe.
If you need help printing materials such as signage or want to send out direct mail before you open, give our experts at Pel Hughes a call at (504) 486-8646. We offer database support, a team of skilled graphic designers, and in-house printing for all your business needs.