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As many cities and states approach their third month of sheltering in place due to COVID-19, business owners across the country have been severely impacted. The federal government passed a $2 trillion aid package in the form of the CARES Act, providing relief for some, but uncertainty remains.  

Right now, many business owners are looking ahead to when it will be safe to reduce some of the current restrictions and wondering how they can prepare their business to reopen. This is the third in a three part series where we take a look at best practices for reopening and ramping up your business. This part will cover reopening while staying flexible and creating practical plans for the future.

Missed parts one and two of our series? Check out part one and part two.

Step One: Stay Informed on Restrictions

Step Two: Communicate With Your Workers Early and Often

Step Three: Stay Calm, Stay Flexible 

Step Four: Plan Out Staffing Models

Step Five: Reintroduce Workers Slowly

Step Six: Continuously Assess Safety and Performance

Step Seven: Learn and Share Info

Once you have gone through the first phase of reopening your business, now is the time to record your learnings and share info with other business owners. Everyone will be looking for insights and best practices for safety at their business, and it is invaluable to learn from others in the same position.

For example, if you’re running a small retail store, you could answer the following questions: What are your hours? How many customers do curbside pickup per day? How many walk-in customers do you have per day? What are your busiest times? Your least busy times? What measures have you taken to protect your workers and customers? Where did you source your cleaning products and protective equipment? Have you coordinated with nearby businesses, for example, to create safe places for customers to wait to get inside your business? 

These are just a few of the topics that are relevant and helpful to share with others and to plan for your own future. Remember to continue to check your local county health department website for local guidance on restrictions and openings. This can be an invaluable resource to guide you as you move to a full reopening. 

Step Eight: Plan for the Future

We’ve all heard the same phrases – this is a time of uncertainty and we are entering a “new normal.” While it can be tiring to hear these same words repeated over and over, there is truth to the statement that we will have to plan for a future that may look very different from our past. 

It may be the case that we must continue with social distancing and enhanced sanitation procedures for many many months, until a vaccine is found for COVID-19. Now is the time to flesh out all of your contingency plans. 

Create forecasts that assume you will be allowed to stay open with social distancing protocols and create forecasts that assume you may have to shut your doors for periods of time. Create a plan now in case you need temporary workers to staff increased demand for curbside pickup or delivery options. Create a plan in case you have to lay off workers again in the event of another shelter in place order. It is better to have these procedures and plans in place and never use them than to be wondering what to do if these situations arise. 

We will all get through this together. From all of us at Wonolo, we hope you stay flexible, stay positive, and stay well.