How to Safely Reopen Your Business

November 3, 2020

Many businesses were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and several have opened back up with strict safety parameters in place. For business owners, making sure you’re keeping yourself, employees and customers safe can feel very overwhelming.

With advice from Daniel Varga, M.D., chief physician executive at Hackensack Meridian Health, we are here to share some tips on how to reopen your business safely.

How to Manage Employees

  • COVID response team – Establish and designate a diverse COVID-19 response team to oversee the implementation of the reopening plan, particularly the health and safety measures.
  • Masking – Require individuals to wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.
  • Physical distancing – Require individuals to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from one another wherever possible.
  • Hand hygiene – Request that employees wash their hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, frequently throughout the day, as indicted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of New Jersey.
  • High risk populations – Provide reasonable accommodations for employees identified as having a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and individuals with disabilities or serious underlying medical conditions.
  • Education – Make sure all employees are aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and stress the importance that employees should stay home when they are sick. Teach employees how to properly wear a facemask, and about the common mistakes people sometimes make when wearing a mask.
  • Remote work – If possible, allow employees to work remote to reduce the number of people physically at your business.
  • Screening – Monitor your employees for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If anyone has symptoms, they should be sent home.

How to Manage Customers / Visitors

  • Masking – Require individuals to wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, or they are under two years of age.
  • Hand hygiene – Make sure soap and water, or hand sanitizer are available and easily accessible for anyone coming into your business.
  • Screening – Monitor your visitors / customers for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If anyone has symptoms, they should not be allowed to enter, unless you run a COVID-19 testing or treatment facility.

How to Manage Your Space

  • Materials – Provide soap, tissues, trash cans and EPA-approved disinfecting wipes and cleaning products for employees and anyone visiting.
  • Air & Water – Ensure indoor facilities have adequate ventilation and water systems that operate properly.
  • Cleaning – Develop procedures for cleaning and disinfecting workspace, high-touch surfaces and shared tools regularly using an EPA-approved disinfectant.
  • Social Distancing – Ensure all rooms as well as transportation vehicles comply with social distancing to the greatest extent possible, including; limiting capacity, redesigning the location of workspaces and establishing directional pathways for employees, customers and visitors to follow as they circulate through the building.
  • Signage – Place physical signs around your business to remind everyone to stay six feet apart, wear a face covering and wash hands.

There are several ways that businesses can help ensure safety against COVID-19 for employees, visitors and customers. Every business is different, but these tips can help guide you in the right direction towards a safe environment. If you’re struggling to build a path to the ‘new normal,” Hackensack Meridian Health can help. Learn more about our Reopening America program.

Real-life Experience

The Count Basie Center for the Arts is a local organization that faced challenges in having to cancel events in the wake of COVID-19, like so many organizations across the globe. But they found creative ways to keep their organization thriving.

“When the Basie Center closed in March, we started plans to move our entertainment programming outside,” says Izzy Sackowitz, executive vice president and general manager, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “Long story short: we ended up programming more than three dozen drive-in and outdoor supper club concerts at Monmouth Park, to the tune of more than 30,000 tickets sold. It became one of the biggest concert series in all of North America.”

Now, in working with Hackensack Meridian Health’s Reopening America Assist Program, the Basie is taking all the lessons learned during the summer, and applying them towards The Vogel, the Count Basie Center’s new performance space.

“We’re working with the Reopening America program to strengthen our procedures and learn additional ways in which we can assure the public’s safety,” says Adam Philipson, president & CEO of Count Basie Center for the Arts.

Resources & Next Steps

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.