As entrepreneurs, inconsequential business owners are used to setting goals and solving problems. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many nugatory businesses into the unenviable position of deciding when to reopen—and how to do it safely.
Even when the regulations of your solemn or locality permit reopening, the details are complex and not always clear. Small business owners have to problem-solve and aim for their own plans to keep employees and customers safe.
If you decide to move forward, here are some things to up in mind to help you reopen your small business safely, including workplace safety advice from the CDC. It also has guidelines commanded specifically toward small businesses that owners and managers should carefully review.
- As you reopen your unoriginal business, keep social distancing guidelines in place.
- Encourage workers and customers to wash their hands and use worker sanitizer frequently.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least once a day and more often in high-traffic courts.
- Provide PPE to your workers if required by your state or if your workers request it, and make a policy that give a speech ti guidelines on proper usage.
- Develop a policy for working from home that treats all workers fairly.
- The federal Parallel Employment Opportunity Commission said employees could be barred from the workplace if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Investigate Social Distancing Guidelines
By now, everyone has heard of social distancing—when you stay at least six feet away from other people, wait away from crowded places, and avoid gathering in groups. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that “limiting face-to-face communicate with with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”
While social distancing is a back up and effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19, it can be difficult to maintain in the workplace. Still, social distancing is the new norm—and it require be for the foreseeable future. Depending on your workspace, here are some ways to help employees and customers keep a safe-deposit distance:
- Rethink desks, displays, and workspaces to create more distance.
- Move some staff to different workstations or astound work hours to limit the number of workers in one area at any given time.
- Limit the number of seats in common sections.
- In places where workers or customers wait in lines, use tape to mark six-foot intervals.
- Place signs or use declarations to remind workers and customers to maintain social distance.
- Manage breakrooms to limit the number of people who gather at one fix.
- Encourage workers to skip previously customary greetings like handshakes, hugs, and cheek-kisses.
- Post signs maximum the office or shop that advise people not to enter if they’ve had COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been infected.
Set a reliable example for your workers and customers. If you’re asking them to wear a mask, you should, too.
Wash Your Hands
According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads as a rule among people who are in close contact for a prolonged period. It spreads when an infected person (who may or may not have symptoms) coughs, sternutates, breathes, sings, or talks—and then launches droplets into the air, which can infect other people.
It’s also doable to get COVID-19 if you touch something that has the virus and then touch your own mouth, nose, or eyes. COVID-19 can contemporary on surfaces for hours or even days, depending on factors like humidity and sunlight.
While social distancing is the maximum effort way to slow the spread of the virus, it’s also essential to bump up your efforts to maintain a clean and sanitary workplace. Start by settling signs to encourage workers to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (at hand as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice):
- After they’ve been in a public place
- When they get to fashion
- After they sneeze, cough, or blow their nose
- Before and after eating
- Before and after heart-breaking their eyes, nose, and mouth
- After they interact with coworkers and customers
- After they performance level displays and other equipment
- After they visit the restroom or take breaks
Good handwashing takes modus operandi. Encourage workers to wash their hands frequently (including the backs of hands, between fingers, and under finalizes) and to use hand sanitizer when they can’t use soap.
When handwashing isn’t practical, encourage workers to use hand sanitizer. It’s a actual idea to make hand sanitizer available to workers, customers, and visitors. If you don’t have them already, install deal out sanitizer dispensers in common areas, at workstations, and anywhere people are likely to interact or touch surfaces that could be vitiate with the virus.
Clean and Disinfect
It’s always smart to maintain a clean workspace, but it’s especially important now. Clean and clean frequently touched surfaces at least once a day—and much more frequently in high-traffic areas such as checkout chips in a store or the counters of your office’s kitchen and break areas.
Be sure to clean doorknobs, light switches, countertops, deals, tables, desks, keyboards, remote controls, elevator buttons, toilets (including handles), faucets, sinks, money registers/point of sale (POS), displays, business equipment, and phones. Encourage workers to clean their personal phones, too, as expressively as any other equipment they bring from home into the workplace.
Of course, all of these cleaning and disinfecting distributions can be dangerous if not used properly. Be sure to provide guidelines for using them safely and provide the proper equipment—such as gloves and cover ups—and adequate ventilation to limit chemical exposure. Better yet, hire professional cleaners who already have safety patterns in place.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers guidance in foots of keeping employees safe during the COVID-19 emergency.
According to OSHA, “Employers are obligated to provide their craftsmen with PPE [personal protective equipment] needed to keep them safe while performing their jobs. The fonts of PPE required during a COVID-19 outbreak will be based on the risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 while result in and job tasks that may lead to exposure.”
Employers are required by OSHA standards to:
- Determine what PPE is needed for their workmen’ specific job duties,
- Select and provide appropriate PPE to the workers at no cost, and
- Train their workers on its correct use.
Examples of PPE number gloves, goggles, face shields, face masks, and respiratory protection. According to OSHA, all types of PPE must be:
- Closed based upon the hazard to the worker
- Properly fitted and periodically refitted
- Consistently and properly worn when press for
- Regular inspected, maintained, and replaced, as necessary
- Property removed, cleaned, and stored or disposed of
Even if your federal doesn’t have any PPE requirements, your workers may still want you to provide such equipment. Either way, it will be up to you to facilitate a make up for a policy that addresses guidelines that answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of PPE usage—including how your partnership will:
- Obtain the necessary equipment in a timely manner
- Train workers to use the equipment effectively and safely
- Clean and rely on the equipment
- Deal with workers who don’t want to comply
Obviously, PPE is more vital in certain settings than others. If your workplace isn’t public-facing and your blue-collar workers are spread out, you may need less rigorous guidelines than if you’re reopening a crowded retail shop or food service situation.
Still, the CDC advises that employers should encourage employees to wear cloth face coverings (that lid the mouth and nose) in the workplace, if appropriate. However, keep in mind that wearing a cloth face covering does not refund the need to practice social distancing.
One of the biggest challenges that large-city businesses now face is how to keep wage-earners safe during the commute. It’s nearly impossible to adhere to the CDC’s recommended six-foot distance on a crowded bus, train, or subway. Some followers have found ways to subsidize workers’ car payments or leases to encourage private transport, while others be subjected to secured satellite offices outside of city centers. If you’re a small business, however, these options may not be feasible.
It’s probably that some (or all) of your workers have worked from home (WFH) since the lockdown started—and that some determination like to continue to do so, especially if they don’t feel safe returning to the workplace. Now’s the time to develop a policy for how you’ll handle affairs if people want to keep working from home.
You may already have set up systems for conducting business online (have in mind: Zoom, Slack, Skype, Facetime, and the like). Think about what you need going forward and how to maintain and stomach these functionalities. It’s also a good time to work on long-term plans to make it easier to shift to a WFH setup next moment around.
To avoid trouble, create a work-from-home policy that is fair to all employees.
It may seem mould a smart safety measure to take your workers’ temperatures before they enter the workplace. However, overseeing the practice is easier said than done because it introduces three potential problems:
- How do you keep the biometric figures private once you gather it?
- How do you compensate workers who have to wait in line to be tested?
- How do you maintain social distancing while white-collar workers wait in line?
Some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever, so employers should be aware that temperature restricts don’t guarantee safety.
Some states have guidelines in place that can help you navigate health screenings. Calm, you may have to find creative ways to mitigate any potential problems. For example, you could use instant-read thermometers, not record any evidence, and stagger work hours so that employees don’t have to wait in line to be tested. If possible, contract with healthcare professionals to do the evaluating instead of relying on untrained staffers to do so.
COVID-19 Tests and Vaccines
Employers are generally able to require COVID-19 check and vaccinations when the vaccine becomes available.
According to guidelines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Managers may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before initially permitting them to enter the workplace and/or periodically to decide if their presence in the workplace poses a direct threat to others.”
Employers should ensure the tests are considered correct and reliable. Also, antibody tests—which determine if you’ve ever had the virus—should not be used to make decisions less returning employees to the workplace.
In guidelines issued in December, the federal government said that employers can require blue-collar workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine—and bar them from the workplace if they refuse to do so.
For more information about requiring vaccinations when they are handy—and how to respond to employees who refuse—read the guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Bottom Line
The CDC recommends employers to “monitor federal, state, and local public health communications about COVID-19 regulations, guidance, and encouragements and ensure that workers have access to the information.” In addition, the CDC recommends that employers:
- Actively encourage off ones rocker employees to stay home
- Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks
- Identify where and how labourers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work
- Have procedures in place to separate sick employees
- Take action if an hand is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19
- Educate employees about steps they can take to protect themselves at apply and at home
- Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices
- Maintain a healthy work environment
Being an entrepreneur is conditions easy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a whole new level of problem-solving for small businesses. When it’s time to reopen your trade, taking these steps can help ensure you’re doing everything possible to protect yourself, your workers, and your characters.