The COVID-19 pandemic is an unimaginable hit. It has led to almost a total shutdown of not only our social lives but also business activities worldwide. So much has changed within a few months, and many microeconomies are in a financial crisis. We’ve lived in a world of the “new normal” and social distancing for several weeks. Now the question many business owners are asking is ‘when can I reopen my business’?
Bear in mind once coronavirus cases have reduced and local government officials give businesses the green light to reopen – it will be up to the company itself to decide the how’s when’s, and if’s the doors are opened. These decisions are not easy. Many have suffered losses, and getting your business back to where it was can be a long and hard journey. The good news is – if you have a solid plan in place to restart your business after the pandemic breaks, you can set yourself up for a smart and successful opening.
Make Businesses Open Again
It is primarily up to the state and local governments to decide when business will commence as usual. There is, of course, guidance from our federal government outlined in President Trump’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. This three-phase plan will hopefully guide business leaders and government officials to begin to roll out a phased “comeback”. The testing of this phased plan will start soon in low-risk areas and continue nationally from there.
Each phase has guidelines for employers and individuals on how to get back into the swing of things. These phases will slowly integrate persons into the community – without interfering with social distancing guidelines – until normalcy returns. But before we discuss what each stage means to you, it is imperative to note every geographical location must meet the following criteria before the phases can commence.
- A reduction of flu-like and COVID-19 cases over 14 days
- A reduction of documented or positive COVID-19 cases over 14 days
- Hospitals must be able to treat all COVID-19 patients without crisis care
- Excellent testing capabilities must be in place for all at-risk health care workers
When following these requirements, it easy enough to conclude states and even cities will start reopening businesses at different times over the coming months. That said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and see what each phase entails.
- Individuals: At-risk individuals should remain sheltered in place. Social distancing in publics and groups of no more than ten people should be maintained. Non-essential travel should be minimized.
- Businesses: Employers should allow for remote work if possible. Ensure social distancing parameters can be met within work environments and slowly open your business in phases if able. Eliminate common areas for the time being to reduce the number of employees in one space.
Once a region completes phase 1 without an increase in COVID-19 cases, AND all the initial guidelines still hold, then it’s time for Phase 2.
- Individuals: At-risk individuals should remain sheltered in place. Continue to maximize social distancing space between others when in public areas. Meetings of 50 people or less can commence if all precautionary measures can be observed. Non-essential travel can begin.
- Businesses: Continue to maintain moderate physical distancing recommendations and allow for remote work where able – especially for at-risk employees. Many companies can start to reopen, given proper sanitation, and low occupancy is strictly followed.
Once a region completes phase 2 without an increase in COVID-19 cases, AND all the initial guidelines still hold, then it’s time for the final step.
- Individuals: At-risk individuals can resume normal activities, as long as social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines are followed, and time spent in crowded environments is minimal.
- Businesses: Employees can return to workplaces. Large venues, as well as gathering places, can operate as long as there’s minimal physical distancing.
When Can I Reopen My Business?
We know what’s most important to you – when can your business, well...get back to business? We wish we had the answer, or Zoltar would magically grant your wish. The best advice we can give you is to stay abreast of your local and state guidelines and talk to your industry peers on how and when they plan to open their doors. Start creating a plan now – don’t wait until the last minute.
Consider what you need to make your business comeback a strong one, given our current environment. Do you need to provide protective clothing for your employees? Should you require temperature checks? How do you plan on sanitizing your office throughout the day?
As we stated earlier, low-risk areas will start to work on Phase 1 soon. There are many unknowns in these uncharted waters, but we sincerely hope your time will come swiftly after that. Be smart and safe when you begin physical operations and wish you much success! Not only your profit margins but with your health and happiness.