Eager to be in the green again, businesses have paved the way in the latest version of the new normal. However, this choice isn't without its challenges. CDC guidelines are stricter than some have realized, and with no roadmap of where we're going, it isn't easy to plan for what's next. How can businesses reopen safely while still turning a profit?
First, let's clarify some of the CDC guidelines for businesses:
1. Conduct Health Checks
2. Require the Use of Masks
Require the use of cloth face coverings among all staff and customers. Face coverings are most necessary in times when physical distancing is difficult.
3. Stock Adequate Supplies
Stock adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors. Supplies include soap, hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, and masks.
4. Perform Routine Cleaning
Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, handrails, and doorknobs. Discourage the sharing of tools and equipment, if possible.
It's also pertinent to note the legal ramifications of not preparing your facility for COVID-19. As the firm McGuireWoods notes:
Employers in both essential and non-essential businesses may be subject to claims that they failed to protect their workers from coronavirus exposure. State workers’ compensation laws may limit these claims, but employers must be mindful of exceptions to the exclusive remedy provisions of workers compensation laws and closely adhere to conditions imposed by state and local emergency orders.
By taking "adequate action," which could be defined as following CDC guidelines for employers, it is unlikely that your business would be held liable.
Ways to Meet CDC Guidelines
This list may seem daunting, but with a few implementations to your facility and workflow, you'll get back to your regular tasks in no time. You'll also have peace of mind protecting your employees—and legal responsibility.
Temperature Sensing Kiosks
You may have heard a fair amount of debate on the topic of temperature sensing kiosks. Are they helpful, harmful, or just plain unnecessary?
One concern is that temperature sensors don't catch asymptomatic cases. Indeed, some public health officials cautioned that these temperature sensors could "create a false sense of security, leading workers to spread the virus inadvertently."
True, not all cases are symptomatic, and asymptomatic individuals can still be carriers for the virus. However, for those with symptoms, a fever is the most common and searched more than any other sign. Furthermore, the CDC recommends daily health checks for essential employees.
Businesses like Perdue Farms have fully embraced the technology for their plants. It also keeps employees safer than other temperature monitoring methods. As the Perdue Farms CIO commented, "Those [temperature] guns require staffing, and it puts people at risk. The last time I checked, peoples' arms aren't six feet long."
You likely have a day job that requires your full attention. You don't have time to be continually ordering PPE like masks or hand sanitizer. So why do it? As with all products these days, there are subscription-like models for PPE equipment to relieve you of this responsibility.
Instead of coordinating inventory, packing up supplies, and shipping equipment before your locations run out, you can use a fulfillment partner. No storage or messy logistics, and all of your facilities will regularly receive the products they need to run safely.
UV Light for Device Disinfection
Staffing appears to be a reoccurring issue when it comes to COVID-era measures. Temperature guns and some models of sensors require a facilitator, and retail locations are hiring staff to clean payment terminals and other surfaces after every use.
Many organizations are also suffering from payment terminal and touch screen malfunction. It appears that the constant use of bleach has allowed the liquid to seep into the hardware. With the virus slashing budgets left and right, however, it hardly seems smart to maintain a steady rotation of new equipment.
An excellent solution for disinfection that won't harm your inventory is UV light. The medical field has used UV light for years as a means to sterilize surgery equipment. As this technology has become more mainstream, specialty solutions have emerged for payment terminals, keyboards, and digital signage.
Remote Repair and Maintenance
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But if it is broken, don't throw it away! Repair services exist for nearly every type of device, and often, regular maintenance is significantly lighter on the pocketbook than buying new.
Device maintenance plans enable you to pay a yearly fixed fee in exchange for regular inspections throughout the year. This business model means that Device A won't cost you any more than this fee each year, allowing you to add the payment to the budget and not get surprised by additional costs.
Repair organizations have shifted to more remote repair options as the pandemic has continued. If your device is 50 lbs or less, you can ship it to a repair depot and receive it back as soon as your business requires it. Some even offer next business day repairs. If your device is more than 50 lbs, onsite repair services are standard. Just be sure to communicate your facility health guidelines to the service technician before they arrive. Additionally, you could sequester the device in an area away from your employees to increase safety.
As we see gym reopening guidelines and salon reopening guidelines change with every phase, it's important to stay ahead of the curve. Protect your facilities now so you can have peace of mind moving forward.