Many brick-and-mortar stores were forced to temporarily close last year due to quarantine protocols. These stores lost a lot of their revenue for the first three months they were closed, leading to some of these stores permanently closing and even filing for bankruptcy. The pandemic can be quite devastating, especially for those unprepared for it. Even when traditional stores were allowed to open by August and September, many more were closed because they violated COVID-19 protocols.
The pandemic is still with us this year, even if vaccines are now widely available in the US. Many experts believe that we should still play it safe even if many Americans get the vaccine. So there is a huge chance that we will still be following COVID-19 protocols for a couple of years more until the virus has been entirely eradicated. Preparation is essential, and if you’re planning to open your store this year, here are some essential things you should know to prepare your brick-and-mortar store ready for COVID-19.
Alcohol and Hand Sanitizers
Alcohol and hand sanitizers should be available for everyone going inside your store. This is for employees, customers, and the like. This is the most fundamental protocol you should follow as it keeps your store safe from the virus.
Always have one of the employees stand in guard at your store entrance to remind customers to sanitize themselves before going in. You should also have a contact tracing app ready for customers to scan. Because of this, you might want to coat your store’s exterior deck with waterproofing materials so that your customers won’t slip from the excess alcohol and sanitizers that might be on the floor. This is very important for stores that might need customers to climb a flight of stairs before entering. If you have a restaurant or a fast-food chain, this is also quite essential because of how much foot traffic you’re going to have from customers ordering take-out.
Giving your employees and customers access to alcohol and hand sanitizers can significantly reduce the chance of infection within your store. This is your primary defense against the pandemic and one of the main protocols that you should follow even well after the pandemic has subsided.
Have Access to Extra Protective Gear
There might be some situations where your employees didn’t bring enough personal protective gear (PPE) or that theirs were broken during the middle of their shift. During these situations, you should have PPE ready in your store. The CDC is quite strict when it comes to PPE. If your employees aren’t wearing one, your store might be forced to temporarily close until you procure the necessary protective gear. So start stocking up PPE in your store for moments like this.
Additionally, you can choose to sell PPE in your store. This is a common tactic for many stores right now as it serves as both a source of revenue and a source of protection for your employees just in case they need it. So you can do this if you have extra PPE that you can sell in your store.
Make Sure Customers Don’t Overcrowd Your Store
Certain stores can only contain so many people. That maximum number should be reduced by more than half. For example, if your store can have about ten to fifteen people inside, then you should reduce that to four of five people at a time during this pandemic. This is to lessen the chance that an infection might happen in your store.
Furthermore, many traditional stores are forced to close early because of the pandemic. You should follow this protocol no matter what unless you offer essential services or you’re a convenience store permitted to open for 24 hours. Having customers after six in the evening (this might be earlier depending on which state) can be dangerous, especially when you have police roaming the area. So be strict about what time your store closes and enforce it the best way you can.
Have an Online Store Ready
The safest way your store and company remain operational through the pandemic is that you have other ways to continue business operations even if your physical store is closed. Having an online store as a backup for this can ensure that your business continues to operate no matter the circumstances. So set up your online store and have it working by the time you open your physical store.
These simple tips can ensure that your store is COVID-19 ready. It also ensures that your store follows the protocols in the near future. Moreover, by following these tips, you can be sure that your store remains operational during the pandemic.