Ready to Resume: Guidance on Reopening Your Business During the Pandemic
Coronavirus has hit the world hard like an asteroid, leaving a large hole in the economy of almost every business around the globe.
With numerous countries going into the lockdown mode, most brick and mortar businesses are left struggling to stay afloat, trying hard to fight the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 breakout.
However, it isn’t just the small business owners that are worried about not being able to keep their company surviving through a crisis such as this, huge corporate organizations and international brands also have their own fair share of financial blows.
In a sense, we’re all in this together, and the only way to get through this is by implementing strict safety policies advised by CDC at workplaces, stores, and factories, as businesses reopen.
1. Say ‘We’re Open’ With Your Safety Policy in Place!
Reopening your business while the coronavirus continues its microbial prance around the world can’t be too easy. You’ve got to ensure the safety of your employees and customers while keeping in mind that the world out there isn’t the same anymore.
Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ requires a primal change of perspective, extensive and coordinated efforts, and, of course, a whole new safety toolkit to get your workplace ready to operate during the current breakout.
So, if you’re considering resuming your operations, make sure you adhere to the CDC guidelines for COVID-19 in order to achieve business goals safely during the raging pandemic.
Well, majorly, to keep yourself, your employees, and your customers safe. Other than that, CDC guidelines on reopening America are now a part of the United States Government plan. Also, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has become one of the most widely referenced resources in terms of COVID-19.
While the institute has dedicated several landing pages of their own website to providing guidance for businesses and workplaces regarding reopening during coronavirus, we’ve made things easier for you by further explaining in detail all the safety steps and general hygiene practices that you must adopt.
How do you know when to safely reopen your business during the COVID-19? Here’s the most-awaited checklist:
1. Prevent Virus Transmission Among Employees
When developing a plan for safety while following the set of guidelines offered by the CDC, your first step should be entirely emphasized upon reducing the transmission of COVID-19 inside the workplace and among your employees.
That’s because, keeping in view all the recent researches, coronavirus majorly spreads through direct human contact with a corona-infected individual.
While maintaining a six-feet distance between yourself and others is utterly necessary, here are some other action steps that you can take as a business owner to fight against the spread of coronavirus as you resume your business operations:
- Actively encourage all your sick employees to stay at home, specifically the ones that are showing coronavirus symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or muscle pain. Because their presence and direct contact with other employees can result in the spread of coronavirus.
- Identify all the places and ways that your workers might be exposed to COVID-19. Such as, if any of your employees live with someone infected, ask them to work from home since there’s a risk they may have contracted the virus themselves.
- Separate employees that are sick or may have been in contact with an infected individual. You can have them work in a separate room, and make sure they maintain a safe distance of 6 feet from all your other workers.
- Lastly, don’t forget to educate your workers on how they can keep themselves, and those around them, safe during the current coronavirus pandemic.
2. Maintain Safe Business Operations
Even after you’ve made sure that all your employees are safe and well-protected, it isn’t enough considering the current circumstances and the extremely terrible situation that we’re all in.
Hence, the plan that you may develop and implement in order to reopen your offices and resume business operations, while coronavirus continues to affect millions, must be in complete compliance with the federal and state guidelines.
For a safety plan that’s entirely based on CDC’s guidelines, we’ve listed down some basic steps that you’d be required to take in order to maintain safe business operations in a world where the infectious, life-threatening disease is romping around.
Here’s what CDC says that you should be doing as an employer:
- Assign someone the responsibility of all the COVID-19 related issues – how to deal with them, as well as their impact on the workplace and productivity of your employees.
- Develop supportive policies for your workers and implement flexible sick leave or work from home under certain conditions. For instance, if any of your employees lives with someone who’s infected, or are taking care of a COVID-19 patient at home, they should be allowed to work from home.
- According to what CDC advises, workers should not be required to submit a positive COVID-19 test result or a medical certificate in order to qualify for sick leave, as that may result in an increased burden on health care providers and the country’s health facilities.
- Assess all the essential functions and the reliance of your business on other services and products. Note that things have changed a lot since the breakout of coronavirus and prepare yourself to change business practices, if necessary, to keep managing critical operations. For instance, you can identify alternate supply chains for your business.
- Don’t forget to stay future-focused and determine how to continue operating your business in case the situation worsens, such as an increase in sick employees and absenteeism.
Most important of all, continue implementing protocols and encourage your employees to maintain proper social distancing within the workspace, as well as outside of it.
3. Create a Healthy Work Environment
You can’t make sure that your employees are safe as long as the workplace that they work in isn’t.
For that, you’d need to strictly follow the reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfecting workplaces provided by CDC, in order to create and maintain a healthy environment that’s entirely safe for your workers.
You can start with your normal routine; cleaning with soap and water. This will help in a significant decrease of the virus on objects and surfaces, hence reducing the risk of exposure.
Other than that, follow these steps:
- Increase ventilation rates in the ventilation system of your building to allow for more fresh air to circulate within your office.
- Although, as per CDC, virus transmission from surfaces is less of a threat, it’s best to disinfect your workspace using EPA approved disinfectants against coronavirus. Also, frequently clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched by numerous people throughout the day.
- Perform thorough and enhanced cleaning if you suspect that a COVID-19 patient might’ve been in your workplace.
- Encourage employees, as well as customers and other visitors to adopt strict hand hygiene practices and respiratory etiquette. Within the premises of your workplace, provide hand sanitizers, tissues, soap, and no-touch disposal receptacles. Moreover, ask all your workers to adopt non-contact methods for greeting and avoid the traditional hand-shaking.
- Ask all your employees to avoid unnecessary travel and social gatherings.
- Reduce or eliminate all sorts of in-person meetings and any other gatherings.
2. Other Important Reminders About COVID-19 and Reducing Exposure Risk
While countries are easing lockdown to resume work, it always pays to be vigilant when it comes to coronavirus, if you don’t want to end up getting infected and risk the lives of those around you.
Yes, quarantining and social distancing has been quite hard for all of us, but trying to keep yourself safe while going to work every day can prove to be even harder. And, without following proper safety measures and guidelines as advised by the CDC, there’s a high risk that you may end up getting infected by COVID-19.
So, do follow the coronavirus guidelines from CDC, and here are some other things that you should remember:
- Coronavirus does not live for more than a few hours on surfaces and objects. The time duration for which the virus stays on surfaces tends to decrease in warmer temperatures and under direct sunlight.
- Normal routine cleaning can significantly decrease the spread of COVID-19.
- Disinfectants can help kill germs and further lower the risk of spreading coronavirus.
- Avoid overusing or stockpiling products such as hand sanitizers, tissues, and disinfectants. Doing so can result in a shortage of such necessary supplies.
- When cleaning by using harsh chemicals, always wear gloves to avoid skin damage.
- Continue avoiding nonessential travel, because you’d be risking your life if you don’t.
- Keep practicing proper social distancing and following strict precautionary measures. In addition to this, avoid touching your face and wash hands frequently, or use a hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
All in all, although a lot of countries have eased lockdowns imposed initially to combat the spread of COVID-19, the virus is still out there. While you resume your business operations and reopen your workplaces, remember not to let your guard down just yet!
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