How Can My Business Return to Normal After Covid-19?
Florida’s shutdowns and COVID-19 restrictions significantly impacted many Florida businesses. Business owners seeking to return to normal after COVID-19 may discover that there is a new normal, or that normal might be many more months away then they had initially thought.
Many individuals are still dealing with the impact of the pandemic on their personal lives, including the economic impacts of COVID-19. The impact on consumers and their spending habits result in an impact on businesses and companies. Also, because new COVID-19 cases continue to increase, many customers may feel uneasy about returning to business as usual.
Tips for Getting Your Business Back to Normal
The economy is slowly recovering and people are returning to a more normal routine. If you have not reopened your business entirely or you have yet to reopen, some tips to keep in mind that can help you return to business as usual include:
- Develop a Plan
Business plans are crucial to the success of a business, including plans to reopen or return to normal business operations after a pandemic. Review your business plan immediately. Modify your plan to account for changes in short-term and long-term needs and goals.
At this time, you may need to re-assess your financial situation. Do you need to apply for grants or loans to help cover expenses and overhead until business revenues return to normal? How has the pandemic impacted your revenues? Can you afford to bring back all employees at once or do you need to reopen in phases to ensure you do not overextend your finances?
If you have not reopened or you are reopening fully, make sure that you comply with all federal, state, and local government orders and health agency guidelines pertaining to your business. While you may not be under mandatory orders from the state for social distancing, cleansing, or wearing masks, you might want to voluntarily adopt the guidelines given by various health agencies and organizations. When considering how to protect your customers and clients, remember that you also need to protect yourself and your employees.
- Phased Reopening
If you are reopening your business in phases, you need to decide the order for your employees to return. Some employees have essential roles that require them to return sooner than other employees. Keeping your employees informed about your plans can help ensure that you have qualified, trained staff members available during each phase of reopening. Also, make sure that you address your employees’ concerns about returning to work.
- Evaluate Measures to Screen and Monitor for COVID-19
Unfortunately, until there is a vaccine, businesses must deal with the threat of the coronavirus spreading throughout their staff members. Review the guidelines from the CDC and other government agencies for screening, testing, and monitoring procedures that you can adopt for your company.
You may also need to implement additional safety precautions to address COVID-19 concerns. Conducting a workplace hazard assessment can help identify areas that need to be addressed.
- Restriction of Nonessential Vendors and Visitors
Depending on your business, you may not be able to restrict vendors and visitors. However, if you can restrict access to most areas of your business, you can reduce the chance of spreading the virus. You also reduce the areas that need to be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
- Develop a Timeline for Returning to Normal
It may take months to return to normal. If a vaccine is not developed this year, it could be next year before we experience the “normal” we enjoyed before the pandemic. Work on creating a realistic timeline for your company to return to normal. Consider all factors, such as the potential that there could be an increase in cases this fall or that a vaccine is not developed until next year. Create a disaster plan for the next crisis.
COVID-19 has taught business owners the importance of having a contingency plan that addresses various issues such as adapting and keeping a business fluid in a crisis, having liquid reserves built up, paying down debt, and reducing nonessential spending. The pandemic has also taught us to have a secondary plan, and even a Plan C, D, and E, to help businesses survive the worst-case scenario.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a “Playbook” for small businesses on how to reopen and move forward post-coronavirus.
Contact a Florida Business Attorney for Help
If you have questions about reopening after COVID-19 or your liability for employees or customers who might contract COVID-19 at your place of business, contact our office to discuss your legal obligations and duties.
Attorney Matthew Fornaro provides comprehensive business law services to individuals, companies, and businesses in Coral Springs, Parkland, and throughout Broward County. Call 954-324-3651 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.