By Malaya Bryan
s our little ones begin returning to school , we as small business owners may be wondering if it is time to fully open our businesses again if we haven ’ t already . The past eighteen months have been hard on all of us as we have dealt with the financial , mental , and physical ramifications of the first global pandemic in over a hundred years . Yet , no matter where you stand on the issue of vaccinations or mask mandates , the country is opening back up . As things go back to normal , it is vital for small business owners to pay attention to the world we now live in .
It might be scary for some of us to venture into this new normal that Covid-19 has left us . Many of us have elderly parents or grandparents to take care of , children to worry about , and our own health issues that may leave us vulnerable to the virus . But we also need to do our part to ensure that our community is safe . As business owners , we need to take the same precautions with our employees and customers as with our families . This includes paying attention to state and local Covid-19 guidelines as well as the following takeaways from the recently updated advice from the CDC based on the communicability of the Delta variant :
• Keep social distancing measures in place . This is especially important indoors . You may need to get creative with your workspace to create distance . For example , limit the number of seats in common areas , including breakrooms — post signs outside the business to advise people not to enter if they have Covid-19 symptoms .
• Encourage your workers to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently . You can do this by installing signs to encourage workers to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or as long as it takes to sing “ Happy Birthday .” In addition , employees should wash their hands as soon as they get to work , after they cough or sneeze , before touching their nose or mouth , after they touch displays or interact with coworkers , and obviously after visiting the restroom . Good hygiene will go a long way to keep your business safe , not only from Covid-19 but from all the other diseases that are potentially lurking in the environment .
• Clean and disinfect surfaces once a day and more frequently in heavily-trafficked areas . This is especially important in check-out areas , kitchen counters , and break areas . It may be a good idea to also clean doorknobs , light switches , handles , tables , desks ,
keyboards , remote controls , elevator buttons , toilets , faucets , sinks , point-of-sale areas , and phones at the end of each day .
• Develop work-from-home policies if applicable for your business . This is understandably not possible for some employees or businesses such as restaurants or retail stores , but this is the safest way to operate your business if possible . One thing to be aware of : create a work from home policy that is fair to all employees to avoid trouble . You have to keep the troops happy in this environment and not convey favoritism or foster jealousy .
The CDC also advises employers to encourage employees to stay home if sick , even if vaccinated . Businesses should also keep workplace health and safety measures , such as barrier protection , in place after employees are vaccinated .
As an employer , you have the right to require your workers to get the Covid-19 vaccine and require testing if they have symptoms . While this may be controversial to some , it may be the best way of ensuring that your staff and customers are protected . This mandate may undoubtedly cause consternation for some business owners as it has the potential to divide staff and customers alike . Still , it is up to the owner to set the tone for the best policies for the company .
Having your own business has never been an easy endeavor , and the Covid-19 pandemic has only added layers of new problems for you to solve . Every day on the news , we see how this pandemic affects every aspect of life , and we may wonder how to do the right thing for our business . We need to own this responsibility in the same way that we take care of our families . As we journey out of our seclusion ( though we may have to go back in ), we understand that the way we live has changed . Our businesses have changed . Our climate has changed . Embrace the new normal , and let ’ s stay safe together . n
Malaya Bryan Principal Main : 407-502-8813 Toll-Free : 1-833-ASK-SBCS 1000 Savage Court Suite 212 Longwood , Florida 32750 www . SBCSInc . com
VOL 7 , Issue 2 n IBA Success Magazine 79