Tips to Reopen Your Business Safely Texas
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, sparking a debate of when and how to re-open our economy. The question on all of our minds is, “How to Reopen Your Business Safely?”
The timeline for reopening is subject to how the pandemic evolves. Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order halting the state’s plans to ease lockdown restrictions.
The topic of how to safely reopen businesses is creating much anxiety amongst business owners who are left to navigate a new world of social distancing, face coverings, decreased in-store capacity, and stricter cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
To help businesses in our communities reopen safely, we’ve prepared a set of tips to formulate and execute a plan.
The following information will be of great value to business owners to safely resume operations while safeguarding the wellbeing of their staff and clients and regaining the trust and confidence of the public.
Prepare Your Establishment for the Transition
It’s crucial to stay informed, as local, state, and federal guidelines can change daily for specific industries as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
Business owners might need to physically rearrange their stores to comply with the strategies for community mitigation set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To help mitigate the spread of the virus, owners may have to do one or more of the following:
- Install physical barriers in their stores or office space
- Changing the layout to create more space between workstations
- Close communal spaces
- Stagger shifts and breaks to minimize any unnecessary interactions
Create an Employee Wellness and Education Plan
Public health officials encourage business owners to allow employees to work remotely when possible. For those companies that require employees to work on-site, preparing a wellness and education plan is imperative.
First, come up with a sanitation program, all employees must follow when at work. Your wellness program should include the following:
- Providing personal protection equipment (PPE) or face coverings: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires specific industries to use standardized PPE like N95 masks. However, for most businesses providing cloth face coverings will be enough.
- Temperature checks before commencing work: We can safely expect temperature checks to be a requirement for re-opening businesses, and even if it is not, it’s a good idea to implement it. Designate one person, such as a manager or supervisor, as the recorder to keep better control of the data.
- Daily wellness checks: Provide your employees with a short daily “symptom survey” to be completed before entering the workplace.
You should schedule a staff training session to cover all aspects of your wellness program and give employees to ask questions before you implement it. Make sure you educate your employees on the proper way to use personal protection equipment (PPE), proper handwashing techniques and require social distancing.
Safety Measures for Retail Stores
Non-essential retail stores and restaurants need to introduce additional health and safety protocols. These measures are not only a useful, practical public health strategy; they can also help instill confidence in your customers; knowing owners are doing everything they can to keep them safe.
Here are a few tips to minimize person-to-person contact at your place of business:
- Promote the use of cashless payment methods. Cash touches lots of hands, which can increase the risk of infection. Promoting the use of virtual payment methods or contactless credit/debit cards can help protect your employees and customers.
- Set up a “pick-up station” at the store entrance. Enable your customers to place an order online and alert them when it’s ready to pick up. This idea will help comply with store capacity guidelines.
- Install barriers and Delimit Spaces. Delimit spaces to comply with social distancing guidelines. Many people don’t know how far they need to stand apart from others, by setting visual marks for people to stand in line at, you can help guarantee everyone practices safe social distancing.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
Customers need to know and understand the new rules of engagement established by stores and offices.
Place signs at the entrance and throughout your workplace. Use a unified message across all channels and repeat it often through regular transaction touchpoints.
Your message should be simple and clear, letting people know what they need to do. If you require your clients to apply hand sanitizer when entering your establishment, then you need to have signs and hand sanitizer readily available. If the use of face coverings is mandatory, the poster needs to be outside the establishment or on the front door.
If possible, have a member of your staff at the door to greet and help people navigate safely through your store.
Provide updates when needed, be ready to accept feedback, and adapt your operations accordingly.
Altus Emergency Centers is here to support business owners in our community. As members of the communities we serve, we are committed to doing everything we can to help kickstart our economy and support local businesses.
For more resources on guidelines to help re-open your business safely, please visit:
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