States Lift COVID-19 Restrictions, Businesses Reopen
As states around the country lift restrictions meant to limit the spread of COVID-19, more businesses are beginning to reopen. However, it’s not as easy as just reopening your doors. Businesses and facilities that sat idle need to be checked and cleaned. Business owners have to make sure they’re taking necessary measures to help keep their employees and customers safe.
We’ve put together a list with five tips to help you create a plan to reopen your business safely.
1. Safety and Security Evaluations
Before you open again, inspect both the interior and exterior of your building for damages. It’s also a good idea to check alarm devices around the perimeter of your building to make sure they work properly. If your building has sat idle for an extended period of time, you may want to flush and run the water since it likely remained stagnant in your pipes.
As you inspect your building, you may find that you have to work with contractors to help reopen your business. If so, make sure to screen them and check that they have the proper certifications to complete the work.
2. Disinfecting Your Business
Cleaning and disinfecting your building before reopening your business ensures a safe workplace. It also tells your customers that you take their health seriously. Take the time to perform a deep cleaning, followed by disinfecting surfaces to kill bacteria and viruses.
Be sure to have a regular cleaning and sanitation protocol in place after reopening. This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently cleaned surfaces, like:
- Door knobs and handles
- Light switches
3. Review Your Business Continuity Plan
Your business continuity plan should address the recovery and restoration process in various areas of your business, such as:
Check any restoration checklists you’ve developed for your business so you can have a smooth reopening. For example, you may want to reach out to key vendors, suppliers and employees to make sure everyone knows your plans. If you find that there may be issues with vendors or suppliers that can impact your reopening, try to find alternative plans.
4. Check Your Utilities
Before you reopen your business, you’ll want to have plan for turning the power back on. For example, turning circuits back on one system at a time, rather than all at once, can help you identify any issues that may arise.
Your utility systems should also be visually inspected for damages or pest control. Any equipment that can be physically inspected should be done before powering on. Furnaces and boilers, for example, should be inspected, cleaned and purged.
Don’t forget to inspect your building’s HVAC systems for proper ventilation and good operation. Before turning these systems on, make sure they’re sanitized and disinfected.
Check your fire protection systems in your building to make sure they work and operate correctly. If your systems were impaired, they should be flushed to remove any obstructions, re-charged and put back in service. If your business has automatic fire doors, get them inspected and tested to make sure they’re working properly.
5. Inspect Equipment and Processes
It’s essential that your business’ equipment and processes are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before you turn them back on. If maintenance checks and procedures passed while your business was shut down, make sure you get these taken care of before reopening. It’s important that your business’ equipment works properly when you reopen.
Walk through your building and visually inspect your equipment, making sure there isn’t any damage or vandalism, making necessary repairs if needed.
If your business has processes involving flammable gases or liquids, make sure they’re fully purged before being put back in service. If you have hot work procedures, you may want to create a physical fire watch for 24 to 48 hours after work completion.
Many businesses rely on internet for their services. Make sure your service provider and business’ internet plan can handle the bandwidth when you reopen.
Be aware that you may have to get some equipment re-commissioned or recertified before activating or using it.
Safely reopening your business will take time, but it’ll help keep your employees and customers safe. For more information and helpful risk engineering resources to help protect your business, log into our Risk Engineering Customer Portal.