Depending on your location, it may be time to reopen your business. Reopening your shop probably feels like things are going back to normal. While some things will be familiar, other things in your shop will have to change. There are several principles that shop owners can apply. By keeping these things in mind, you can reopen your shop and keep your employees safe.
Keep Current with State Guidelines
If you’re in the United States, the specifics of how the government is handling the response to the pandemic are generally controlled by each state. Because of this situation, it’s crucial to stay informed on what your state is doing. The best way to keep up-to-date is through your state’s website. You can find your state or territory’s coronavirus website here.
When you begin to reopen your shop, the CDC recommends:
- “Conducting daily health checks
- Conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace
- Encouraging employees to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace, if appropriate
- Implementing policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace
- Improving the building ventilation system”
You may consider offering masks for your employees to wear if you’re able to source them. If the masks are reusable, make sure you have a plan to clean them in place. Some shops are also putting up partitions to help employees remember to keep their distance. If you choose to put them up in your shop, remember other spaces like receptionist desks that may need them as well.
Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
Even before the pandemic hit, your shop probably encouraged sick employees to stay home. However, now it’s become critical that anyone who is sick stays home. You may want to take a look at your policies and procedures for sick days. For example, before the pandemic, you may have required a doctor’s note for an employee to take a sick day. Now, with medical staff and resources stretched thin, it’s harder to get a doctor’s note.
It’s also important that employees have enough sick time to get well before they come back to work. You may also want to consider how to handle employees who stay home to take care of sick family members. These considerations may mean you need to change your sick leave policies and procedures.
Contactless thermometers are a great way to take employees’ temperatures before they enter the shop. Making sure no one with a fever comes inside is a good way to cut down on the spread of the virus. However, shop owners must be careful with how they carry this out. An employee’s temperature is health information and needs to be kept private. That means keeping temperatures or reasons for going home private.
Make Needed Changes to Your Shop
Because of the pandemic, your shop will probably need to make some physical changes. For example, employees need to maintain a safe distance from each other. It’s almost impossible to do that in small spaces. So, you may need to close your break room or lunchroom. On the shop floor, you can add partitions to help employees remember to keep their distance. There are many ways to adapt your shop in order to keep it running and keep your employees healthy.
Technology can also help change your shop. Consider using apps for your ERP software. With apps, employees can touch only their phones instead of things like job travelers or the time clocks that others touch as well. If an employee only uses their phone, then they reduce the risk of spreading anything. Otherwise, cross-contamination makes it much harder to keep everyone safe. It’s also more convenient for employees to have all the information they need at their fingertips. Instead of going across the shop to a computer, they can use their phone and stay put.
It may not be a bad idea to prepare for the worst. If someone in your shop does test positive for COVID-19, what would you do? One part of your response will likely include cleaning and sanitizing your shop. Your typical cleaners may be able to handle a job like this, or you may need to find another cleaning service. It’s much easier to find the right service for your shop before you need them.
Additionally, if someone in your shop does test positive for COVID-19, will you need to close your shop for a while? Will your employees need to go into quarantine? Look at your state and local laws to determine what your legal obligations are, but it can also be helpful to see what similar shops are doing. Making it through this pandemic will be easier if you have your response planned out ahead of time.
Reopening your shop may be difficult, but if done right, you can have everyone back to work and safe. As we find out new things about this virus, there may be new changes, so it’s important to stay updated on the laws and guidelines. Hopefully, we’ve seen the worst of it and these restrictions will ease.
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