Safety Tips for Your Business During Coronavirus
Mar 31, 2020
If you are an essential business and are staying open to serve customers during the Coronavirus outbreak, it's important that you follow safety tips and precautions to protect your employees and customers from this highly contagious virus. According to the WHO, Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, with symptoms like fever and dry cough, that spreads through droplets from sneezing or coughing. Many of us have never experienced or had to deal with a global pandemic at this scale so it may not be clear what safety tips you should follow as a business owner or as an employee. It is the responsibility of us all to practice safety and cleanliness at this time. Encourage other business owners, employees and customers to follow these tips as well; we can work together as a community to get through the Coronavirus outbreak.
Check out our infographic: What is the list of essential businesses in Ontario?
Stay Home If You're Sick
Emphasize to your employees that if they feel ill, they should not come into work and should remain home - except to get medical help. Encourage employees to check their temperature before they come into work to ensure they do not have a fever.
Practice Physical Distancing
The CDC recommends practicing physical distancing by maintaining 2 meters or 6 feet from other people. Remind employees to practice keeping this distance when speaking to customers. You can encourage this among customers as well by taping off 2 meter spaces on the floor in your check out areas; you may have seen this in spaces like grocery stores already.
If you are a restaurant serving take out, another way to maintain physical distance when customers come to pick up their orders is by placing tables at the door. This can also be used as a space to provide takeout orders without contact as well as limit customers from having to enter the establishment and interact with high-touch surfaces.
If employees have to frequently or closely interact with customers - for example, at the check out area - consider putting up a sneeze guard like a sheet of plexiglass or acrylic plastic at the register. Remember to frequently wipe down and sanitize this guard as well.
Limit the Number of People Inside
Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, try to keep the number of employees coming in to a limited number of only essential workers. Similarly with customers, refrain from having many customers in your business at the same time to make maintaining physical distancing easier.
This can be done by monitoring how many customers are coming in at a time. If you feel there are too many bodies in your business to keep safe physical distancing, ask incoming customers to wait outside until other customers are finished.
A handy way to maintain this is by keeping your door open, only closing it when you have reached the capacity to safely ensure physical distancing and reopening it when you have reached a safe number again. Use signage to explain that you are still open but when the door is closed, you ask that customers kindly wait outside until others are finished shopping to ensure physical distancing.
Remind employees to cover coughs and sneezes with their elbow instead of their hands or with a tissue that is quickly disposed, then they should immediately wash their hands after. You can use signage to remind customers of this practice too.
Cash can lead to a lot of physical contact with hands and with many people; imagine how quickly and frequently a coin can get redistributed. Encourage customers to pay by tapping their card or paying before they come in through online paying processes - especially if you already have these systems in place.
Wipe Down High-Touch Surfaces
Frequently wipe down and sanitize surfaces that get touched the most by customers and employees; for example: door handles, checkout counters, card machines, cash registers, screens, light switches, bathrooms, faucet handles, phones, shopping baskets and so on.
Verbally or with signage, remind employees to properly and frequently wash their hands before they eat, after they sneeze/cough, if they need to touch their face and after they interact with high-touch areas. Use signage to encourage customers to practice this as well. If you can, provide hand sanitizer for employees, for customers at the register and before they enter your business.
Schedule Time for Pick Up Orders
If you are doing take out or allowing customers to pick up goods, schedule times slots for when each customer should come pick up their order. This helps prevent crowds and lines and helps everyone maintain physical distancing. Systems like Opentable can help both your employees and your customers easily manage scheduling.
One of the more important safety tips for your business during the Coronavirus outbreak is physical or social distancing. This means staying indoors at home and going out to public places only for essential purposes such as getting groceries. If you have the option of temporarily closing down or moving business to online shopping, it can be the safest way to prevent the spread of the virus for employees and customers; it also encourages people to follow suit and stay home too. The strength of community is one of our core values at Foxquilt; if you have other safety tips or ways to support business during Coronavirus, feel free to share them with us in the comments or by contacting us. We can help spread the word and re-share them on our social platforms. Stay safe and stay healthy!
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