Posted on Leave a comment

Re-Opening: How to protect your employees


Over 30 states have loosened their shelter-in-place policies. If you’re looking to re-open your business (or already have) below is what the CDC recommends to protect your employees.

Establish a COVID-19 Coordinator

The COVID-19 Coordinator should start with examining the company’s sick leave policy. The policy should be flexible and non-punitive and should encourage employees to stay home if they feel sick (or to care for family members who are sick). Review this policy with your employees.

Next the COVID-19 Coordinator should determine shift schedules to enforce social distancing. Work from home should be done whenever possible.

Essential employees and business functions should be determined as well. Business continuity—if there should ever be a disruption in the supply chain—should be evaluated. Explore how you can continue business operations if further disruptions occur.

Lastly, establish an emergency communications plan and clearly communicate all of the above to your employees, along with whatever expectations you may have.

Below are other tips the CDC recommends to protect your employees.

Protecting the health of your employees

  1. Encourage sick employees to stay home. Your sick leave policy should reflect this encouragement as well.
  2. Ask your employees about their concerns. Some employees may have underlying illnesses.
  3. Develop flexible scheduling. This should also include flexible time-off for sick family members in need of care.
  4. Talk to your suppliers about what they are doing to protect their employees.
  5. Plan to minimize face-to-face contact between employees.
  6. Provide supplies for proper hand hygiene. This includes no-touch trash cans, kleenex, soap, water, paper towels, and hand sanitizer.
  7. Keep travel to a minimum.
  8. Routinely clean high-touch areas. This includes phones, counters, keyboards, work stations, and doorknobs.
  9. Provide education, training, and clearly communicate expectations.
  10. If an employee becomes sick, separate them and send them home immediately.

Next week we’ll cover the frequently asked questions small businesses have when operating during the health crisis, including what to do if an employee is exposed and finding out an employee tested positive several days later. Stay safe and keep hanging on AQR community; we are all in this together.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Re-Opening Your Business


Each state is responding to the coronavirus differently, and that includes when businesses are allowed to re-open.

Within the next week, 20 states are loosening restrictions—with most attention going to Georgia—as they have had the most aggressive re-opening response. Cities and counties within these states can differ on their re-opening to, so pay attention to your local news to get the most accurate information on when restrictions will be lifted in your area.

Deciding whether or not to reopen your business ultimately comes down to you and your employees. Safety should remain the highest priority, and maintaining a feeling of safety for your employees is also critical.

If you do decide to reopen, here are some things to know.

Reopening requirements

Each state is going to be different, and some states have specific requirements. As a rule of thumb, make sure your employees wear masks at all times, and make masks to provide to your customers to wear while shopping too. Cloth masks should be hand washed after each use, and don’t let your store get so full your customers can’t adhere to the 6-foot social distancing rule.

Store cleaning should be increased too. Consider adding wipes, towels, or cleaner by the door so patrons don’t have to touch the surface. Find ways to sanitize your payment options; wipe the pin pad after a card transaction or provide a stylus to be cleaned after each use. Other surfaces and countertops should be frequently cleaned throughout the day as well.

If someone coughs or sneezes on a surface, clean it promptly. According to the CDC, you should wipe the surface first with soap and water, then clean the surface again with a disinfectant. Soft surfaces, such as fabric, will need to be washed. Don’t shake out contaminated soft surfaces, as that can spread the virus as well. Gloves should be worn while cleaning these surfaces, and you should wash your hands after removing your gloves. Lastly, if you allow patrons to use your restroom, clean the room after each use.

These steps will help prepare your location to re-open. Next week we’ll cover how to keep your employees protected, and what policies to change to provide them peace of mind.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.