Small businesses around the region that were forced to slow down or shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic are now able to start reopening. Northern Virginia moved into Phase 2 on June 12th. There’s no firm date when we’ll move into Phase 3. Governor Northam announced that the state will not move to the next stage until this Friday, June 26th. If the past is any indication, Northern Virginia will not move into the next phase at the same time as the rest of the Commonwealth.
If you own a small business is ready to reopen, you probably have question about what steps you should take to make reopening safe and successful. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a great deal of information about reopening on their website. These are the tips that we think are most useful.
- Assess your business’s current cleaning and sanitation practices against the CDC’s recently released recommendations. What procedures can you implement or upgrade to reduce the spread of the virus, and how can your staff help maintain those practices? This may include sourcing and stocking up on cleaning products and sanitizers for employee use during work hours.
- Consider how your current workspace can be reconfigured to encourage social distancing if telework is not possible. The CDC recommends installing physical barriers, changing layouts to put at least six feet of distance between work stations, closing communal spaces, staggering shifts and breaks and refraining from large events.
- According to LifeLabs, you may wish to consider limiting the number of employees in the workplace and alternating teams to further encourage social distancing.
- Decide how you will handle a positive case of COVID-19 in your workplace after you reopen. OSHA’s guidelines give specific steps on how to manage and isolate employees displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
Develop a time frame: The Chamber also recommends “As you develop your time frame for reopening, here are a few steps you can take to make a smoother transition:
- Get input from your team. If your business is customer-facing, ask your staff for their thoughts and concerns about interacting with customers in the near term, given the current circumstances in your state. Some staff may be eager to get back to work, while others may feel more comfortable waiting a week or two for an additional drop in COVID-19 cases.
- Plan out an anticipated schedule of pre-opening tasks. From deep-cleaning and sanitizing to rearranging furniture to encourage social distancing, make a list of everything you’ll need to do to get your business customer-ready.
- Coordinate with your vendors. If you’ve been shut down, start reaching out to vendors re-establish your supply chain and administrative support. If you’ve been operating in a limited capacity, plan ahead for how your inventory needs may increase as business picks up.
- Give your customers a heads up. Even if you don’t have an exact date for reopening yet, stay in touch with your customers and let them know to stay tuned for an upcoming announcement.
Next week we’ll have more tips on helping your small business ramp back up. Until then, reach out to us if you need assistance establishing policies and procedures. VersaTel Solutions is here to help.