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Top 5 tips for re-opening post lockdown
Finally, there's some light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses.
On 15 June, non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen. From 4 July, dozens of other retailers and businesses will be able to re-open too. Slowly but surely restrictions are lifting and businesses can get back to business.
But it goes without saying that re-opening isn't straightforward. We are entering what is widely termed 'the new normal', and that means new rules, behaviours and regulations. Re-opening safely and successfully will be a big challenge for small businesses - but one that simply has to be overcome.
Here are our top 5 tips on making it work...
Carry out a Covid risk assessment
Before re-opening, it's essential that you carry out a full risk assessment in-line with the official HSE guidelines. You'll also need to discuss the risks with your staff and clearly communicate that you've conducted a risk assessment. It's difficult to know what the future holds, but it's vital that you can demonstrate you've made the right preparation.
Calculate how many customers you can accommodate
Whether the 2 metre rule stays in place or it is decreased slightly, you'll need to calculate how many customers and staff you can safely accommodate without breaking social distancing rules. Once you've calculated this, consider how you communicate your limit clearly, and how you can manage it. In some cases, it may require a staff member to monitor customer volumes at all times.
Assess your ventilation
It's become clear that proper ventilation is vital to stopping the spread of Covid-19. Therefore, it will be increaisngly important for customers and staff that any business is efficiently ventilated. This might mean having your existing system checked or ensuring any windows and doors can be opened easily.
Invest in hygiene!
Clearly, cleanliness is now front and centre of everyone's mind. But simply cleaning your premises regularly, as you no doubt have done in the past, might not cut it. Customers and staff may now be tentative about entering spaces that aren't regularly given a deep, professional clean. If it's affordable and sustainable, it might be worth considering how you can do this, and whether it's worth working with an external cleaning company.
Maintain remote working, where possible
If any of your staff can continue to do their jobs effectively from home, it makes sense for them to continue. Re-opening businesses has to be gradual to be sustainable, and you'll be playing your part if you can limit the number of staff you bring back to work.
Good luck in the coming months as you begin to re-open your business. As always, we'll be doing our best to promote small businesses and to encourage customers to shop small, and support their local high streets.