As of now, Stage 1 of Alberta’s reopening strategy is scheduled to start on May 14th. It has been approximately two months for now, that many businesses have had to temporarily close, and needless to say they have been severely affected. Some, unfortunately, have had to announce their permanent closure due to financial loss and the hardships caused by the coronavirus. Small and medium businesses are what is shaping our local economy and our communities, and we are rooting for them.
This being said, as of May 14th, the restrictions are lifted for the following:
• Some retail businesses like clothing, furniture, and bookstores.
• All farmers’ market vendors.
• More scheduled surgeries and dental procedures.
• Museums and art galleries.
• Daycares and out-of-school care, with occupancy limits.
The following on May 25th:
• Some personal services like hairstyling and barber shops.
• Cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars can reopen for public seating at 50% capacity, but people will not be able to go to the bar to order drinks, they will need to be served at the table.
The following on June 1st:
• Summer camps, with occupancy limits (this could include summer school).
• Post-secondary institutions will continue course delivery, but method (online, in-person or blend) will depend on the restrictions in place at each phase.
• Places of worship and funeral services
If your business is included in the list above, you have the green light to proceed to reopening your establishment. The reopening of your business comes with a complex set of health and sanitation guidelines from Alberta’s public health organization in order to restart the economy while continuing to prevent the spread of the Covid-19. It is easy to get lost in all the rules and regulations to put in place in your organization to be able to operate as of May 14th, so here we are sharing Avenue’s best practices for your reopening.
1. Assess if you have the space and ability to re-open while applying social distancing rules within your organization.
Analyze if your establishment allows you to enforce the 2 meters distance between staff, volunteers, and patrons. If the square footage doesn’t allow you to do so, you might want to reconsider the opening.
2. Recall your laid-off staff
For restaurants, bars and cafes who will be forced to operate at 50% capacity and without any bar service, it is clear not all staff will be recalled immediately. Assess how many staff members you will need for the reopening considering the 50% capacity.
One thing to keep in mind while scheduling is to be prepared for a higher level of absenteeism than usual with staff calling in sick or having to stay home to take care of a loved one who is in isolation.
3. Give your team clear instruction
When contacting your employees for the reopening, send them a clear and detailed message with all the information they may need such as:
• Date and time of their first day of work (obviously!)
• If it applies, which entrance door they should use
• Social distancing, cleanliness and sanitation measure you have put in place for staff and patrons
• Any screening measures put in place to detect any flu-like symptoms
• Any change to house policies regarding calling in sick when feeling ill or having any flu-like symptoms
• Changes in access to lockers or change rooms if any
4. Inform your clients
Inform all your customers that you are reopen for business. They first need to be informed of the date of reopening, and second, they need to be informed about what are all the measures that you have put in place for them to visit your establishment safely. Inform them of all the social distancing and cleanliness measures you have put in place. You can do so through any social media pages you have as well as your website.
5. Implement clear signage
It is important that you have clear signage in your establishment regarding social distancing and cleanliness rules. You can either make your own sign or purchase them online. Depending on which industry your business is, you might want to have the following signage on site:
• Signs on the floor for queueing at a 2 meters distance from one another
• A “wash hands thoroughly” sign in the bathrooms and at any hand washing stations if you did not already have one
• A sign to inform customers which door to enter your establishment from if there is more than one.
• A sign reminding customers to keep a 2 meters distance from staff and other patrons
• Any other relevant signage
6. Ensure you have enough stock of personal protective equipment
Before reopening, ensure you have enough stock of masks, gloves, sanitizer and anything else you may require to ensure proper cleanliness and sanitation standards.
7. Prioritize cashless payments
Cash transaction are usually a good way of transmission of germs from patrons to staff. Therefore, you should prioritize payment by card or phone. It is simple, quick, and safer for everyone. Also, most banks have increased the limit for tap payment, but when needed sanitize the payment processing machine between use.
8. Prioritize virtual queueing
Especially for restaurants, using an online software to allow your customers to get in queue without waiting in line at your establishment, allows them to safely wait in their home until their turn. You can also schedule a 15-minute time-lapse between bookings to ensure you don’t have multiple customers walking in the door at the same time, and all waiting in the waiting area. If needed, add a 2-meter sign outside your establishment to show customers where to stand while waiting in line.
9. Stay informed
As businesses are reopening or preparing to reopen, everyone is navigating this situation for the first time as these are unprecedented times. We suggest you stay informed with other businesses or professionals as to how they are managing the reopening on their side. Also keep informed with any new rules or regulations public health officers may enforce so you can adjust your strategy and reopening measures.
10. Survey your clientele
Give the opportunity to your client to voice their opinion and survey their experience when they visited you so you can adjust your strategy to ensure they are comfortable visiting your establishment again and implement any recommendations they may have that makes sense to you. If needed, you may reward them with a gift card for filling the survey.
If you need to develop a detailed and thorough reopening plan, we can help. Contact us so we can assist you at firstname.lastname@example.org