Re-opening your small business? Make sure you have a plan

Library | 7/28/2020

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After months of closures and restrictions, many small businesses are starting to re-open. It might take a lot of work to formulate a re-opening plan of action, but it will be worth ensuring the safety of your employees and customers. If you’re considering re-opening your business, follow the recommended guidelines and take a proactive approach.


According to a recent study, more than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since the COVID-19 pandemic escalated in March. Many more closed temporarily, and had started to reopen, just as Coronavirus numbers began surging yet again across the country.


If you are going to reopen, and that’s a decision only you can make based on what’s happening in your specific location, proceed with caution and consider the following advice:

  • Talk to your employees and stakeholders and engage them in the decision-making process. Listen to their concerns, be transparent about why you are initiating new processes, and let them have a say.

  • If your business can operate remotely, let your employees work from home. If not, work to stagger the return of your staff by alternating shifts or workdays so that fewer employees are working together at the same time.

  • Monitor your employees’ health. Work with HR and a legal consultant to develop health monitoring protocols. Screen employees by taking their temperature at the start of every shift and ask if they are showing any symptoms. Should anyone become ill, have a plan in place to immediately isolate them and send them home followed by notifying and protecting the rest of the staff and the general public.

  • Continuously clean and sanitize your workplace. Disinfect all surfaces and commonly touched items such as doorknobs, light switches, drawer handles, phones, keyboards, etc. Place extra efforts in common areas and provide hand washing or sanitizing stations, as well as any necessary PPE such as face masks, gloves or visors.

  • Practice social distancing and limit gatherings. Meetings should be conducted virtually if possible, and workers should not gather in conference rooms, break rooms, cafeterias or other common areas.

  • Be transparent and communicate with employees and customers. Internally, assign a person to be the main contact regarding questions or concerns around new policies, changing job requirements, remote work, and any other issues they may have. Externally, be sure to communicate with your customers (via email, social media, blog posts, etc.) to let them know about new hours, safety procedures, and changes in products or services to keep them informed.    


Click here for more complete guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC’s Interim Guidelines for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus  


It will take a lot of hard work to plan your re-opening, follow all the new guidelines, and ensure the safety of your employees and customers. Still, it is better to carefully consider all these issues and have a plan in place than re-opening recklessly. Employees and customers will be loyal to businesses that demonstrate that they care about people’s health and well-being. 


Whatever stage of recovery your business is in right now, Valley is here for you. Check out our loan assistance and payment relief programs, learn about available SBA loans, or visit our Business Insight Center for more helpful advice.


How to re-open your small business safely
open your small business safely

How to re-open your small business safely

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you reopen your small business safely, including workplace safely advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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