With businesses starting to reopen, the Utah Department of Health released a set of comprehensive guidelines for Utah business-owners to protect their business and, at the same time, prevent the spread of COVID-19. The manual contained recommendations not only from the UDOH but also from the CDC, OHSA, and US Department of Labor.
Protecting Your Business from the Virus
As a business owner, you should take some precautions to ensure the safety of your business establishment. The thing is, your patrons and employees are more likely to practice good hygiene if you make it easier for them. You can apply for a small business loan if you need to modernize your facilities to encourage people to take their cleanliness seriously.
1. Encourage Good Hygiene
One of the best ways to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus is to practice good hygiene at all times. Encourage your employees and patrons to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible. Make sure that everyone has what they need to clean their hands. Here are the things that you can do to promote and maintain proper hygiene practice in your business establishment.
For the Customers:
- Place signs at the entrance to remind people to wash their hands.
- Put a hand sanitizer dispenser at the entrance so that people coming in can disinfect their hands.
- Make sure that there are soap and water in the lavatory. Use a soap dispenser for lesser contact.
- Make sure that there are sufficient handwashing sinks in your establishment. If you are planning to add more handwashing stations, consider using contactless faucets.
- Ensure that there are tissues and no-contact trash cans.
For the Employees:
- Have handwashing stations at your employees’ locker rooms and working areas.
- Provide employees with disinfecting sprays and wipes so that they can regularly wipe high-touch surfaces.
- Employees should greet your customers without any contact, i.e., handshakes.
2. Establish Safe Physical Distances
Close contact with those infected by the virus puts you at risk of being infected, too. Set up the workspaces of your employees so that close contact can be avoided. Arrange your establishment in a way that your customers can also maintain their physical distances with each other.
For the Customers:
- Set a limit to the number of people who can be inside at the same time. That will depend on the space that you have.
- If you own a restaurant, use single tables so that there will only be one customer per table.
- If you own a grocery or a mini-mart, make sure that there is sufficient aisle space to promote physical distancing.
- If you own a restaurant, encourage your customers to have their orders delivered to their homes or offices.
- If you own a grocery or a mini-mart, establish a shop-by-phone service, where customers just call you for their items, and they can pick it up, or you can have them delivered.
For the Employees:
- Rearrange workspaces to maintain at least two meters of distance between employees.
- Reduce the number of employees who work at the same time. Let employees who can work remotely stay at home. Let those who need to be on-site work in shifts.
- Modify your usual business practices to reduce close contact between customers and employees.
- Install physical barriers between employees and between employees and customers.
3. Use Proper Personal Protective Equipment
The COVID-19 virus can be spread through respiratory droplets released when someone sneezes, coughs, or even talks. A face mask can prevent an asymptomatic person from releasing droplets into the air, and can also protect you from inhaling these droplets.
Provide the necessary PPE’s to your employees to keep them and your patrons safe. Have face masks ready for distribution at the entrance for customers without a face mask.
4. Disinfect Your Establishment
Use EPA-registered disinfectants to disinfect high-touch surfaces in your establishment. Make sure to clean hard surfaces first with soap and water to clean off dirt and germs. Follow by spraying on disinfectants to kill bacteria and viruses. More cleaning and disinfection may be required on surfaces that are often touched and used, such as doorknobs, shopping carts, and restrooms.
Call a professional cleaning service for deep and thorough disinfection at least once a week.
5. Sick Employees Should Stay at Home.
If an employee develops a fever and other coronavirus-like symptoms, let them take sick leave. Do not let sick employees or even sick customers for that matter come into your business establishment. Have a temperature check at the entrance to ensure that everyone who enters your place is healthy and has no fever.
An employee who exhibits coronavirus-like symptoms should be tested immediately. Those who’ve had contact with the sick employee for more than 15 minutes should be identified and considered exposed and at risk. Should the ill employee’s result be positive, they should be quarantined at home, as well as those who were in close contact with said employee.
You can contribute to the state’s efforts to fight the virus and prevent it from further spreading. By keeping your employees and patrons safe, you are also ensuring the continuity of your business.