Even though some businesses are opening for business, which most people know is needed, it still may not be a good idea. Depending on the type of business you have, some can do it more safely than others. If you hang out your open for business shingle too soon, without some precautions in place, the result could be highly undesirable.
The Potential Problem
As you recall, the reason that businesses had to be closed in many states was simply to prevent further spreading of the virus or to stop it from spreading so fast. Some states did it earlier than others and a handful of states did not issue stay-at-home orders at all. The virus is much more contagious than the flu, and more deadly because it has killed so many in such a short time.
Things to Consider When Opening for Business
Many small businesses would love to open just because they need the cash. You may not have been able to get any money from the Paycheck Protection Program yet or the stimulus package.
Before you decide to open, why not take a little time to decide if you can put some precautions in place before you do? Here are some things to consider putting in place when you do open.
- Do you have masks for your employees? States that permit early opening may also have some other rules in place about masks – such as how to clean them, the type, etc. If you or your employees get sick, will you be able to stay open? Remember that people with COVID-19 are contagious two or three days before any symptoms show up. People may walk in that are sick and spread the virus to your employees.
- Do you have thermometers to be able to detect fevers among your employees? They may want to come to work even if they are sick because they feel they need a paycheck. Once sick and properly diagnosed, they are required to be quarantined for 14 days and may need to be hospitalized. People of all ages can spread the disease and some will never develop any symptoms.
- Have you applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)? Although the first round of this program ran out of money, there soon will be more ($310 million) available in a second-round – which has been signed by President Trump. If you missed getting money the first time around, apply as soon as you can this time around. Your employees will appreciate it and it may keep your business intact until you do open again.
Remember that the money from PPP will be first come – first served! If you have less than 20 employees, you may find greater success in getting approved if you apply at your bank. In the new package, $30 billion was designated to smaller banks and credit unions.
- Check to see if your employees are willing to come back to work now. Some businesses that are opening early have discovered that their employees do not want to come back to work so soon. Talk to them to find out. Remember that if you take money from the PPP, you must keep all your employees on your payroll through June.
- Can you ensure social distancing? In many companies, keeping the required 6-feet away in social distancing just is not possible. Many employees work side-by-side. If this is the case, most states that are permitting an early opening may not permit you to open yet. If a virus starts spreading, and word gets out that it started in your workplace – you likely will need to shut down for some time – and the public may think twice about visiting. Also, can you keep your visitors 6-feet away – even those that come to your office?
If you are opening early, take the time to implement these guidelines. Also, be sure to know whether or not your state or city has issued specific guidelines for opening, too.