Many questions remain about how to approach the reopening of society in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. There are potential minefields that can land you and your business in a lot of trouble, if you aren’t careful. Here are seven mistakes to avoid:
- Don’t ignore unresolved COVID-19 liability issues
What happens if someone gets COVID-19 at your shop? The Federal government is deciding whether to limit or absorb liability for this eventuality. Until this is resolved, you must take all appropriate steps to reduce risk, without exposing yourself to other problem areas such as HIPAA regulations on medical data. Ask your lawyer!
- Be sure you know all about your shop’s insurance coverage
COVID-19 may fall under “force majeure” or “act of God” coverage. Check with your insurance company or agent about the possibility of making a claim for lost business due to the pandemic.
Check your worker’s comp coverage; some states are covering employees’ COVID-19 health care costs through the program.
- Be aware that social distancing may be difficult to enforce
Your shop was around long before social distancing became important. Thoroughly analyze your shop’s shortcomings, making changes as needed:
- If service bays are too close together, close some
- If your break room is too small, close it
- Mark hallways for one-way traffic
- Communal restrooms should be converted to one-person-at-a-time
- Plexiglass partitions may be necessary in reception areas that remain open
- Communal refrigerators are out
- If you plan to take employees’ temperatures, do it right
Checking temperatures on a daily basis may seem like a no-brainer, but it can expose you to other problems. A few quick tips:
- Don’t retain temperature data – simply show each person their temperature on an instant-read thermometer.
- Maintain correct distancing when people are lining up.
- Contract with a healthcare professional – they have the right training and equipment.
- Provide training in proper use of PPE
You can’t just hand it out – you must make sure that your employees know how to use it. Have an adequate supply on hand, especially gloves and masks. Be sure your policy complies with state and local regulations.
- Know that some employees may not feel it’s safe to return
Your techs can’t work from home, but your office staff may be able to, as long as they can connect to your shop’s computer systems. Your high-risk employees (those who are older and/or with underlying health conditions) may also need to be accommodated.
- Have a plan for customers and vendors who visit
Post highly visible signage, warning anyone who is symptomatic or has been exposed to the virus not to enter. Adopt touchless processes for your customers, so they don’t need to enter. When you get deliveries, have them brought into the shop by your staff, wearing proper PPE. Any vendors who must enter your shop should call first to schedule a visit and wear PPE at all times.