Thank you for visiting our blog! This post will present insight and information regarding updated guidance and COVID-19 protocols. Please note that this information is based on the latest health guidance for our headquarters state of Ohio, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Please visit your state’s health department website to review the latest requirements and recommendations for businesses in your area.
The past fourteen months or so have been far from easy, especially for small businesses. No matter what type of business you run, everything about your daily operations has changed, from the ways you stock the shelves to how you interact with customers. This strain the pandemic has placed on your business may have even affected your relationships with customers, temporarily or permanently.
But we’re not here to talk about the past. Today, we’re focused on the future because after a long, hard year, it seems that life is beginning to return to normal. Hopefully, we’re getting a glimpse of a new post-pandemic life as vaccination availability expands and new case numbers decrease in the United States.
In Ohio specifically, we’re approaching a big change in COVID-19 health and safety regulations. We’ll discuss those changes a bit in the next section, along with five ideas to help you prepare your team.
5 Ideas to Help Your Business Slowly Return to Normal
Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health recently announced that as of June 2nd, 2021, most pandemic health orders will be lifted in the state of Ohio. The measures being removed will include mask protocols, social distancing guidelines, and capacity restrictions for indoor and outdoor events. You can read the latest order related to these guidelines here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently announced that except in certain limited circumstances, “fully vaccinated persons may safely do most activities without a facial covering and without socially distancing.”
These are big updates that will likely change your business operations yet again. Here’s a list of some things that you may find helpful as your team navigates another “new normal”.
1. Continue to follow guidance from the CDC.
As new information becomes available regarding COVID-19 health and safety, the CDC will post it on their website. Watch this information closely, as updates are posted very frequently. This will help you safely serve each guest and offer everyone a positive experience.
2. Discuss your business’ individual protocols with your team.
Speaking of new information, the CDC recently released updated guidance for fully vaccinated people. It states, “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
Most likely, you won’t be able to determine whether your team or customers have been vaccinated. Therefore, according to the Ohio Department of Health, “you may choose to continue to require masking, social distancing, and/or other mitigation measures among all employees and customers/patrons, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.” Take some time with your team to discuss how you should approach these new guidelines as a business. It’s important to consider the safety of your team members and customers, along with everyone’s comfort levels.
3. Share your new guidelines with your customers.
Once your team has discussed it and you reach a final decision, be sure to share your new health and safety guidelines with your customers. You can do so with clear, concise signage in your front window, on your website, through your social media pages, or by sending an email. If your business is located in Ohio, it may be helpful to release your new guidelines as close to June 2nd as possible.
4. Monitor customer expectations and comfort levels.
As the rules and regulations change, so will customer behaviors. Some people may be completely comfortable shopping or dining without a mask, while others will still prefer ordering online or choosing curbside pickup. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to monitor these changing behaviors.
For example, a recent study from Morning Consult found 64% of Americans currently feel comfortable dining out at a restaurant, as opposed to 42% last year. To pinpoint your customers’ exact preferences, you may want to consider asking for feedback or sending out a short survey regarding new COVID protocols. Continue to keep tabs on the changing behaviors and preferences of your customers so your business may pivot as time goes on.
5. Prepare to hire more team members.
As the world slowly returns to normal, you may find that business picks up considerably. That’s a great problem to have, but you don’t want to stretch your staff too thin or offer subpar service on those busy days. So, now is a great time to start thinking about and preparing to hire more team members. Consider taking some time to update your training manual or onboarding process so you’re ready to go when the time comes.
We hope you find these ideas and suggestions helpful as you begin to slowly welcome more people to your business. Above all, remember to implement any changes you decide on at your own pace. Make sure your team is comfortable, customers feel safe, and collectively you’re offering the best experience possible.
As a reminder, the new COVID protocols mentioned in this post are specific to the state of Ohio. Please visit your state’s health department website or consult with your legal advisor for information specific to your business or area.