As we quickly approach May 15 and Phase 1 of reopening Louisiana’s economy, it’s important to make sure you have a plan to ensure your employees and customers feel safe. Taking a look at best practices from essential retail businesses that have remained open is a good place to start. The ideas below can give you food for thought as you prepare to reopen your retail locations in the coming weeks.
- Build a COVID-19 Plan – This plan will be used in marketing efforts to show your customers that you care. Call it your COVID-19 safety plan. Include cleaning and sanitizing schedules, new protocols, safety procedures, social distancing, and options that include both indoor shopping and curbside. Be sure to continue reaching consumers virtually with social media, videos, webinars, photo updates and more.
- Market Your Plan – As businesses begin to reopen, consumers will look for those locations who have clearly communicated their COVID-19 safety plan. Businesses who have remained open and been successful have done this well. Pair your reopening communication with your safety plan; consumers will notice and patronize stores they view as safe.
- Social Distancing – By now, you’ve been to a store that has stickers on the floor showing you where to stand, saw the signs that limit the number of entrants, noticed some doors are marked entry and some exit, workers are using gloves and have on face masks, and you’ve seen plastic shields in front of the counters. You need to consider similar procedures. Start gathering necessary supplies and signage to accommodate your COVID-19 plan.
- Cleaning Schedule – Consumers will notice if your store is clean, organized and safe to enter. Make sure you are rebuilding your cleaning plan and have all the necessary item needed to do so. Build a new schedule and add it to your daily calendar. Make sure your staff is fully aware of the new procedures – have staff meetings before re-opening to go over your plan. Build in inspection times and checklists for quality control.
- Respect the Process – This process of reopening will evolve as our leaders evaluate the current environment. There are just as many people who are ready for business to be open as usual as there are those who will remain very cautious for quite some time. If you cater your plan to the cautious, consumers will be more open and respect those procedures. The faster you adhere to safety protocols, the faster you will get back to business as usual.
- Contact the Chamber – Be sure to check out the BRAC Recovery page, which is loaded with great resources to help support your business. If you are looking to hire be sure to fill out the Workforce Recovery Form on the BRWorks page so we can make sure and support your hiring needs. If you are looking for PPE and cleaning supplies, check out BRAC’s PPE Marketplace for items available for hands free, next-day pick up in Port Allen.
Useful links for preparing your workplace:
- CDC: Guidance for small businesses
- CDC: Cleaning and disinfecting your work facility
- OSHA: Guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19
- OSHA: Ten steps workplaces can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Retail Industry Leaders Association: Blueprint for shopping safe
- Louisiana Open Safely
Maggi Spurlock is the Director of Talent Development for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. In her role, she leads all aspects of BRAC’s talent development program, including talent attraction and orientation.