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Many states have had restrictions on businesses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago. As vaccinations become more available to people across America, states are lifting restrictions so that merchants can reopen fully.
Businesses are eager to welcome back their customers, but need to be aware of some guidelines to ensure the safety of their staff and patrons.
Here are some things businesses can do that will give them and their patrons the confidence to reopen at 100% capacity:
- Develop a reopening plan: Preparing to welcome back customers should include a plan of outreach, engagement and reassurance. Outreach will let employees and customers know what the policies are to welcome them back safely. Engagement could mean offering incentives to customers such as coupons, discounts or free menu items. Advertising and social media are great ways to create engagement with potential consumers. Reassuring customers and staff that you are committed to them creates loyalty for better employees and repeat customers. Take the lead and reaffirm policies that have been laid out for them and continually enforce them.
- Check your state and local laws on reopening: Many states have already started lifting their COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, but local municipalities may still have rules in place you will need to follow. Stay up to date on the latest news to make sure you are following the guidelines set out for you.
- Franchisees & regulated businesses should also check on their rules: While many states are lifting their restrictions, many large corporations are still requiring mask mandates and temperature checks at their door. These rules are not nullified because local laws have lifted their restrictions. If your business operates as part of a franchise or regulated business (such as state-licensed businesses for cosmetology or doctor’s offices or if you operate under the purview of a federal agency like the FDA) make sure you are aware of the rules and guidelines they have set out for you that you must follow.
- Safety is a game we all play: If you or anyone on your staff start to develop symptoms of COVID-19, keep them home and start to evaluate if anyone else on your staff was exposed. No business wants to be known as “the place where I caught COVID” much like a closed-down restaurant was known for food poisoning. Continue to sanitize common areas often – especially after a customer interaction. Lastly, continue to encourage social distancing.
- Vaccinate early and often: Encourage your team to sign up for the vaccine as it becomes more available to Americans. Check with your state’s guidelines on who can sign up and receive the vaccine and pass that information along to your staff. If they need to take time off to receive it, let them know they can do so without penalty. The more people are vaccinated quickly, the quicker we can return to 100% normalcy. Consider an incentive program for those that do get vaccinated – this could be as simple as giving a gift card. Being able to promote a 100% vaccinated staff is a great way to build customer trust.
Most importantly – be excited! The available vaccines are a huge step toward getting us interacting with our friends, our community and our customers. It’s time to fully open and get back to business!