Many Colorado businesses have received the green light to reopen with a new set of health and safety guidelines. 

Since each business is unique, owners and managers are figuring out what a safe reopening looks like for their business.

 With how rapidly things are changing with the virus and COVID-19-related regulations, these tips will be subject to change as we are presented with more information and insights. Below are the best practices for reopening as of July 2, 2020.

Ready to welcome back customers? Here are four ways to reopen safely:

1. Encourage and enforce social distancing

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), social distancing or physical distancing is “one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread."  

For COVID-19, the CDC recommends maintaining a distance of 6 feet (approximately two arms lengths for most adults) from people outside your household.

Of course, that's easier said than done — especially for small businesses that are literally small establishments and buildings in many cases. 

Here are a few ways to encourage employees and customers to follow social distancing guidelines:

  • Post signs at entrances and throughout your business reminding both customers and workers to maintain physical distance.
  • Limit the number of customers allowed inside at any one time.
  • Allow employees to work from home whenever possible.
  • Reduce the number of employees working on-site each shift.
  • Consider creating cohorts of employees for your staff schedule to limit employee exposure.
  • Hold meetings online instead of in person.
  • Increase the amount of space between desks, counters or other workspaces.
  • For service providers, ask customers to wait outside until you're ready for them.
  • Add clear dividers at checkout areas to separate customers and cashiers.
  • Offer curbside pickup and other to-go services.
  • Remind customers to maintain distance while waiting in line by applying floor markers that measure space like colored duct tape..
  • Create one-way aisles through stores and shops.
  • Discourage employees from congregating in kitchens, break rooms and lounges by temporarily removing furniture from these areas.
  • Suspend “seat yourself" policies at bars and restaurants. Instead, seat patrons to ensure social distancing.

2. Mask up

No matter how strict your attempts to enforce social distancing are, there will be instances where it's just not possible. (As if a proper socially distanced haircut or manicure is possible...) That's why many businesses are encouraging or requiring both customers and employees to mask up

Mask requirements won't always be left to an individual business owner's discretion. Check the current public health orders in your area to find out when and where facial coverings are mandatory.

Want the protection masks offer without the potential pushback? Make it easier by purchasing masks for your employees so they don't have to pay for them out of pocket. 

Additionally, it’s smart business to keep a stash of cheap, disposable masks for customers who arrive without one. We've even seen businesses incentivize mask-wearing with contests for the best homemade masks!

3. Disinfect, clean, repeat

Since the coronavirus can survive on different surfaces for varying lengths of time, it's crucial for businesses to you clean and disinfect regularly. 

The CDC recommends cleaning surfaces using soap and water, then using a disinfectant. 

High-touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs and handles, light switches, countertops, shopping carts, faucets, pens and point-of-sale keypads should be cleaned especially frequently, ideally after every use.

When possible, reduce the number of surfaces your employees and customers have to touch altogether. Keep doors propped open, install touchless flush systems and faucets in bathrooms, and encourage the use of touchless payment systems instead of cash.

You may also want to consider swapping reusable items for disposable ones during this time. (We know, we know — we care about the planet, too). 

However,  temporarily switching from cloth hand towels to paper towels and from reusable silverware and glassware to pre-wrapped disposable utensils and recyclable plastic cups helps to reduce the risk of transmission. 

If going plastic is not an option, make sure to thoroughly wash all reusable items after each use.

One more thing to keep in mind: If you're using new chemicals to clean and disinfect your surfaces, you'll need to ensure you're complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard regarding hazard communication (OSHA). 

This OSHA standard requires employers with hazardous chemicals to label all containers, obtain safety data sheets and train workers to handle the chemicals appropriately. Learn more about OSHA's hazard communication standard.

4. Prioritize the health of your workers

You can't have a thriving business without healthy employees, so make their safety your top priority by:

  • Allowing at-risk employees or those with at-risk household members (such as those who are over 65 or who have known health conditions or are immunocompromised) to work from home
  • Offering flexible schedules or the ability to work from home to employees with childcare or eldercare responsibilities

5. Ensure that your business is insured

Don’t make 2020 an even more challenging year by skipping out on workers’ comp insurance coverage for your business.

If you have five 5 minutes, then you have time to receive a quote and finalize your coverage online with Cake Insure.

Get a free policy quote online in 90 seconds and coverage in just 5 minutes with Cake.