As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have an unprecedented effect on daily life, many business owners are looking forward to the future and a return to normalcy. However, even when stay-at-home orders are lifted and nonessential businesses are allowed to resume operations, there’s a lot for organizations to consider before they reopen their doors. What’s more, many of these considerations are workplace-specific and could be more involved depending on the industry you operate in.
To protect their customers and employees alike, it’s important for organizations to do their due diligence before opening their business back up to the public following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Determining When to Reopen
While many essential businesses (e.g., hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations) have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic, other operations deemed nonessential have shut down temporarily or changed the nature of their operations. Not only has this led to significant business disruptions, but, for many, it has critically impacted their bottom line.
However, we may be nearing a time when stay-at-home regulations are scaled back and all businesses are allowed to resume as normal. The question then is: How will business owners know it is acceptable to reopen? The following are some best practices to keep in mind:
Again, before reopening, it’s critical to seek the expertise of legal, insurance and other professionals.
Conducting a Risk Assessment
Even after the government allows businesses to reopen, firms still need to determine if it makes sense to resume operations. Safely restarting your business won’t be as simple as unlocking the front door.
Before reopening, businesses should perform a risk assessment to determine what steps must be taken. While the complexity of risk assessments will differ from business to business, they typically involve the following steps:
When analyzing your risks, consider potential financial losses, compliance requirements, employee safety, business disruptions, reputational harm and other consequences.
For COVID-19, control measures could include cleaning protocols, work from home orders and mandated personal protective equipment (PPE) usage. Additional workplace considerations can be found below.
Maintaining Workplace Safety Using OSHA and CDC Guidance
Once you conduct a risk assessment, you will need to act to control COVID-19 risks. Again, risks and the corrective steps that organizations take to address those risks will vary by business and industry.
Thankfully, there are a number of OSHA and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) workplace controls to consider if your risk assessment determines that COVID-19 poses a threat to your employees or customers. For instance, you should:
While resuming operations following the COVID-19 pandemic may seem like a daunting task, businesses don’t have to go it alone. To help with this process, organizations can seek the help of their insurance professionals to determine what actions they need to take to ensure their business reopens smoothly.
Source: Zywave Risk Insights
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