It is looking more and more like there are going to be massive shutdowns. Some states and cities have already implemented limited shutdowns in various places, shutting down restaurants, bars, and gyms. In those places where coronavirus is spreading faster, expect more shutdowns and smaller social gatherings. Daily cases are running between 135,000 and 180,000. Experts expect these numbers to dramatically rise soon.
People have already been stockpiling goods to prepare for it, but is your business ready? Surveys reveal that almost half of all small businesses have made little or no preparation for it. Although some vaccines are nearly ready for distribution, the spread of COVID-19 is expected to get much worse than it is now.
After the last shutdown, you no doubt have learned some new things about what your business needs to be ready for if the pandemic got worse. It is likely that you still are operating under new guidelines and practices. This may include having some or nearly all of your employees working from home. Have you been using them to help you get ready? Are you improving your communications with them to ensure greater productivity and cooperation – without micromanaging them?
Many businesses were able to keep operating because they were considered “essential.” They provided essential products or services during the pandemic. Many companies took advantage of this opportunity by quickly pivoting their business to be included in this category. Even the big automakers pivoted to produce ventilators after they had already shut down. Have you pivoted any to ensure that your business will be allowed to stay open? Have you assured your employees that you will try to do so if another shutdown occurs?
Prepare for the Worst
One thing that did not occur in earlier shutdowns was the overcrowding of hospitals as we are seeing today. Although some large cities experienced this problem, it is now occurring in large portions across several states and will soon become even worse. This means that if employees get infected with COVID-19, they may not be able to get treated anywhere local. The solution is to take extra precautions to ensure that they do not get infected in the workplace. Requiring the wearing of masks and frequent sanitizing is a must.
At the same time, remember that flu season is coming and the spread of both within a workplace could shut you down permanently. You may want to check your employees daily for fevers if you are already not doing so.
Cut Back on Extras
You should curtail all extra spending immediately. You should save money because no one knows how long a new shutdown will go on – but it will not likely happen until the number of new cases is way down – again.
Saving money this time may even be more important than it was the first time. Although there has been some talk in Congress about a new stimulus package, they have not made an agreement about unemployment or financial assistance for businesses. This is true even though the government is well aware of the potential cost to the nation without it.
Ensure Available Critical Suppliers
One big problem that occurred for a while, even after the first shutdown was over, was the difficulty of finding supplies. Many of them came from China, which had an ever tighter lockdown than America. It is best to try and secure more than one supplier in case one has to shut down.