COVID-19 has brought changes to our everyday lives that we never thought possible before. Wearing masks before entering most stores, hand sanitizing between trips out and singing jingles in our heads as we wash our hands. As we start to get a handle on the pandemic, some businesses are beginning to think about re-opening during COVID-19 and getting back to some sense of a normal routine.
Almost every single business owner is looking to the future including how to not only protect their staff, but help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Businesses are implementing new policies and procedures in order to continue operating in this new and strange environment. If you are one of the many businesses looking to re-open during the current Stage 2 across Ontario, here are some measures you can take to keep everyone protected.
Getting Staff Ready
Most of your staff will have questions and concerns regarding how the store will look and run as they start to come back. Making sure they are aware of the expectations and new policies in place will allow you to open with one less concern. Some things to keep in mind include:
- Identify ahead which staff members will be working and touch base with them will in advance of
their first shift
- Confirm that they are healthy and well, without any signs of sickness
- Map out the schedule and staff shifts (Having the same staff work together can help reduce the chances of disease spreading)
- Have hand sanitizer and masks available for all staff
- Have daily or weekly touch points with staff to ensure they are adjusting well to the new environment and to answer any questions or concerns they may have
Many people have suspended or reduced their coverage during this time while they were driving less or their business was shutdown. It is very important, once you begin driving again or your business has reopened, to immediately contact your broker. They will make sure that your coverage has been adjusted back so that you are properly covered. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your insurance coverage and your business during this time your broker will be able to help guide you through your available options.
It is very important to take steps to not only protect your staff, but also protect any customers that may be visiting your store to shop or even for contact-less pickups. Here are some steps you can take to ensure everyone’s safety:
- Inspect the premises to check for any damage that may have occurred during vacancy
- Ensure exterior and interior lighting is in good working order, including emergency exit lighting
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- Have signs posted to encourage social distancing and ensure customers know any new store policies
- Have signage posted outside if you require masks or have any sanitizing procedures in place for customers (Post these on your website and social media as well so customers know ahead of time)
- If you can, install plexi-glass between yourself and customers
- Post your guidelines and process for contact-less pickups on your website, social media and front entrance door
- Frequently clean highly touched or high risk areas (ie; doors, door knobs, POS systems, shelves etc.)
- Ensure any barriers do not contribute to a hazard including a possible slip, trip or fall
- Adjust your store hours and limit in store capacity depending on how much space you have
Unsure of whether you can re-open yet? Visit the Government of Ontario’s website to see a full list of regions and businesses allowed to move to Stage 2.
As businesses including restaurants, barbers & hair salons and shopping centres begin to re-open this week it’s important for all customers to be aware of any new guidelines in place.
- Check the businesses website, social media pages or give them a call to know what to expect when visiting their store
- Look for any in store and floor signage as a reminder to keep 6ft of distance
- If you feel sick, stay home.
- Most businesses are still providing delivery options to reduce the numbers in their stores
- Use your elbow to open doors using automatic door openers
- Practice only touching what you plan on purchasing to reduce your contact points
No one knows exactly when, or if, we will return back to pre COVID-19 times, but one thing is sure things will look very different for the foreseeable future. The best we can do is work together to make the transition a bit easier on everyone. Remember that businesses are doing the best they can during these times and even though some new policies may be a hassle, they are in everyone’s best interest. Stay safe, stay healthy and most of all stay patient as we work through this extremely new and changing environment.