The reopening of America has begun.
State governments around the country are going at different paces, but the one thing they have in common is the desire to not go backward—to not see a resurgence of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Clean and disinfect
The extent you need to do clean and disinfect your business will be determined by a number of factors, one of which is how long everyone in your business has been quarantined. If the business has been vacant at least 7 days, then a routine cleaning with soap and water will suffice.
The same goes for outdoor areas of your business. While good hygienic practices need to be maintained at all times, soap and water are expected to be sufficient. Commercial disinfectants are a valuable commodity in these times and using them in outdoor areas has not been proven to reduce COVID-19 exposure.
Disinfectants do need to be brought in when a routine soap and water cleanse is not expected to be enough. The EPA maintains a list of approved disinfectants. It’s worth making sure that whatever you use is on that list. Not only has it been tested against the coronavirus, but it’s also an argument in your favor if someone does contract the virus on your premises and files a negligence lawsuit.
If an EPA-approved product is not available, your best bet is to use some type of 70 percent alcohol solution. One method is to add a 1/3 cup of bleach to a gallon of water. But take care not to mix bleach with other disinfectant products—the result can be fumes that are dangerous to breathe in.
Maintain good standard practices
Hopefully, you and your employees have been practicing social distancing, washing your hands regularly and wearing masks when necessary. Don’t let up now! The CDC and EPA strongly advise that businesses continue these practices when people are in the office.
In particular, this will apply when an employee gets sick. We know a lot of businesses are stretched thin, but now isn’t the time to tell employees to “suck it up.” It isn’t the time for employees to push themselves.
If there’s any doubt about an employee’s condition or health, encourage them to err on the side of caution and stay home. Employers can make this easier by continuing to allow remote work to the greatest degree possible and offering paid sick time.
There has been a lot of suffering in the United States and the world over the last several months and small business owners have suffered more than most. Follow the right steps to sanitize your business and everything can settle back down sooner rather than later.