Just about everything has been fluctuating this year—education, employment, business, financial markets, guidelines, and more. So, deciding to reopen your business (or if you are open, go back to “normal”) may not be easy. Those who have been able to continue to operate have found our previous informative articles useful: Tips and Information to Keep Your Business Afloat, and Tips and Resources for Small Businesses: COVID-19. Here, we share indispensable resources reopening your business, for when that time comes.
While the pandemic has brought changes at the national level, most regulations affecting businesses are set at the state level. It’s important to check with your local government as you make plans to reopen.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce website is a fantastic resource for your research. There you will find an interactive map that you can use to see your state’s guidelines and timelines for employers. Right off the bat, you’ll know if which states are reopening, partially reopening, or reversing.
- Reopening status
- Effective dates
- Workplace guidance
- Screening guidance
- Sector-specific guidance- i.e., retail, restaurants, childcare, etc.
Step-By-Step Guide for Reopening
You may have heard of Salesforce, the cloud-based CRM platform. They have written three concise but insightful chapters on how to safely reopen your business, much of it inspired by their own experience. The following is a high-level view of each chapter. Explore each of them for the full details.
- Create a Leadership Task Force
- Define What Safety Means to Your Organization
- Decide Your Criteria for Reopening Your Business
- Communicate with Your Employees
- Outline the Phases of Reopening
- Prepare Your Employees
- Rethink Your Office (or workplace)
- Your Employees
- Your Office
- Your Community
- An Ongoing Journey
Not all businesses have been impacted in the same way. Therefore, reopening will be different depending on your industry. The AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) has put together an outstanding collection of free industry-specific guides on BackToWorkSafely.org. The science-based recommendations and guidelines are tailored to smaller businesses. Here are some of the many downloadable guides available:
- Amateur Sports Guidelines
- At-Home Service Providers Guidelines
- Childcare Centers Guidelines
- Street Vendors and Farmers’ Markets Guidelines
- Construction Guidelines
- Hair and Nail Salon Guidelines
- Rideshare, Taxi, Limo, and other Passenger Drivers-for-Hire Guidelines
- Small Lodging Establishments Guidelines
- Small Manufacturing, Repair and Maintenance Shops Guidelines
- Worship Services and Religious Gatherings Guidelines
If your business is subject to OSHA regulations, they’ve published this guide that may be useful to you. In it, you’ll find steps employers can take to limit risk and exposure and more. Also included are details on OSHA assistance, services, and programs you could take advantage of.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
The CDC website continues to be one of the main places to receive up-to-date information on COVID-19 and they have resources for your business. Their page on Communities, Schools, Workplaces, and Events is a good place to start.
Business Insurance is crucial for protecting your business financially and your customers. But with everything going on, insurance carriers have to adjust the way they conduct business and cover losses, and understandably so. At the moment, some Business Insurance carriers are abstaining from offering Business Interruption Insurance. Others are modifying their coverage to account for pandemics, such as the one we experience today.
While Business Insurance Specialists remain the best resource for finding the right price and coverage for your business, insurance carriers are looking for more information before binding a policy.
Here’s a sample of commonly asked questions carriers are asking:
- Details on precautionary measures taken to manage the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Details on procedures to ensure compliance with eviction moratoriums.
- Have any of the properties managed by you been ‘taken over’ for COVID-19 temporary hospitals, housing, or other services? Do you anticipate any properties to be utilized in such a capacity in the future? If yes, you may be asked for a copy of the contract governing this arrangement.
- Do you or any other party perform health screenings, including temperature taking, of people entering the premises of any managed properties? Do you anticipate any such screenings being implemented in the future? If yes, you may be asked for details on who is performing this service and provide a copy of the contract governing this work.
If you’re shopping for a new Business Insurance policy, you may find the process a bit more involved than usual. It’s a good idea to look for assistance from specialists, like the ones here at AIS.
The information in this article is obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only. It should not replace the advice of a qualified professional. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.