The COVID-19 pandemic has created situations none of us have experienced before. This has put businesses of all kinds in the strange position to attempt to navigate operations without any precedence to look to for guidance. We’re making it up as we go along and it can be difficult to know exactly how to proceed.
But it’s essential to have a plan for welcoming customers and employees back into your business as our cities continue to open up. This must move forward. People have to get back to work. And it has to be done safely.
COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere. We must learn how to safely resume operations without putting everybody at risk. So what should you do? How do you work to protect your employees and customers?
Here are some steps you can take to give everyone the best chance at getting back to a form of normalcy while protecting their health.
Set Guidelines for Staff and Customers
Everyone has to work together to keep eachother safe. Even a single person that ignores the rules can infect others should they be sick. The CDC recommends everyone, customers and employees, should wear cloth face masks whenever possible. This isn’t possible when people are eating or drinking but every other scenario should include facemasks.
Put together a set of rules such as requiring facemasks, staying six feet apart, and limiting the amount of people in small areas. Print out these rules and prominently display them near the entrance to your business.
Use Thermal Temperature Monitoring
Many people who are sick with COVID-19 don’t actually realize it. These are known as “asymptomatic” cases. This is a dangerous situation because people who don’t feel sick might not be as careful as those with the associated symptoms.
Herring Technology provides thermal temperature monitoring solutions. This provides early signs of an elevated body temperature which is a possible indicator of COVID-19. Many people with a mild fever don’t even realize it, but they can be actively spreading the virus. Screen for these people and refuse entrance to anyone showing a fever.
Social distancing is another important tool used to fight against the spread of COVID-19. Businesses can help maintain social distancing protocols by rearranging the seating options for either customers or employees, depending on your business.
Office buildings can spread out employee seating and offer remote working opportunities. Other businesses such as restaurants can block off every other table or seat along a bar to keep distance between parties. This can be altered as time moves forward and local restrictions begin to relax.
Cleaning is very important to keeping everyone safe. Put together a cleaning schedule and stick to it. Shared surfaces such as door handles should be sanitized multiple times every day. Larger areas like a shared break room should be fully cleaned at the end of every day. Eating areas are particularly hazardous because of the increased likelihood of contagion — people won’t be able to wear masks, eating has the potential to spread saliva, and many people congregate there throughout the day.
Restaurants and other public-facing businesses will need to continually sanitize surfaces such as tables and railings throughout the day. Anything that is touched by people should be wiped down with a disinfectant.
Adhere to Local Guidelines
Your local government will provide updated guidelines and recommendations to keep the community safe. Nashville, for instance, has set up a website dedicated to information and resources relating to COVID-19.
There are different phases of the reopening that can move in either direction depending on the current spread of the virus. Each phase has its own set of restrictions. The mayor will make an announcement should the city move either forward or backward through these phases. Your businesses will need to make adjustments each time the city moves into a new phase of reopening.
Have a Plan Should Someone Get Sick
Illnesses are going to happen. Hopefully it won’t affect your business, but you should be prepared for this scenario. A customer or a coworker could become sick and expose others in your business to the illness without realizing it until later. You need to be prepared for this to happen.
Put together a plan should you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your place of business. This could include getting everyone tested who came in contact with the infected person, quarantining those who were exposed, and more.
Enforce Your Rules
There’s no point in putting rules in place if they’re not going to be enforced. These conversations can be awkward if someone is breaking your rules, but they are essential. This illness is highly contagious and isn’t going to be going anywhere anytime soon. Strict adherence to best practices are what’s going to keep everyone safe.
Post your rules so everyone is aware of them. Set up thermal temperature monitoring to give yourself the best chance at limiting exposure should someone get sick. And pay close attention to the guidance provided by local officials. Business is going to resume, but it should be done carefully and mindfully to avoid spreading the illness.