Reopening Business After Covid 19: What to Prepare For

As the U.S. starts to reopen, here’s what to expect for reopening business after Covid 19. (Plus, get FREE email templates to let clients know you’re back in business.)

As shelter-in-place (SIP) orders are slowly lifted, what does this mean for reopening business after Covid 19? Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, reopening the country won’t be like flipping on a light switch or a one-size-fits-all approach. The same goes for your business. Much of what reopening business will look like will mirror the administration’s Opening Up America Again recommendations, which were designed to “help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.” 

Using Opening Up America Again as the measure for how states will start reopening, we broke it up into its three phases and what this may mean for your business.

Phase 1

Before this phase can be implemented, states must satisfy specific state/regional gating criteria, including, a downward trajectory of covid-like symptoms and flu-like symptoms within a 14-day period; a downward trend of documented cases or positive tests within a 14-day period; and the ability for hospitals to treat all patients without crisis care and conduct adequate testing among healthcare workers. 

States and regions that satisfy the gating criteria may start to lift or loosen SIP orders. Check out this list for SIP expiration dates by state.

What this means for states per Opening Up America Again

  • Maximizing physical distance from others when in public (e.g., parks, shopping areas)
  • Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed
  • Avoid socializing in groups of 10+ people that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing
  • Minimizing non-essential travel
  • School and daycares remain closed
  • Large venues can operate under strict physical distancing protocols
  • Vulnerable populations should continue to shelter in place

What this may mean for your business

While phase 1 of reopening business after Covid 19 will look different for everyone, there is still a heavy emphasis on physical distancing and avoiding groups of more than 10 people. Of course, you’ll want to follow guidelines and regulations issued by your state and local authorities on what businesses are allowed to do, how they can operate and when face coverings are required. 

Additionally, you may want to:

  • Continue using video conferencing for client meetings (meeting in-person while maintaining appropriate physical distance may be awkward)

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For those who cannot provide their service while maintaining appropriate distancing:

For those who can provide their service while maintaining appropriate distancing:

  • Continue to provide low or no-contact services as a way to diversify and supplement your income. Check out How to Make Money During Quarantine for 20 ideas.
  • Think through how your in-person offerings may change based on servicing groups of less than 10; for example:
    • If you’re a wedding venue, consider asking couples to split their weddings into two parts: a small intimate ceremony now, followed by a larger reception later when more guests are allowed.
    • Or you could market an elopement package or even an elopement weekend where you schedule a couple of elopements back to back.
  • Communicate proactively with existing clients. Check in to see if they will be modifying their event’s guest count to comply with your state’s guidelines or if they want to reschedule. Let them know you’re reopening business, ready to provide your services, and your plans to comply with authorities’ guidelines. Here’s swipe copy for proactive communication:

Hi XX,

With [state name] reopening, I wanted to check in and make sure you and your loved ones are doing ok! 

I also wanted to reassure you that I’ll do whatever it takes to make your [event name] a success, whether that’s modifying it to meet your needs and current state/local guidelines, or rescheduling it if you’d like to postpone. Whatever you need, I’m here to help. 

Your safety and well-being, and making sure we figure out the best way to make your event memorable, are my top priorities.

Let’s schedule a call to discuss how you’re feeling and the best path forward.

Warmly,

XX

  • Let your audience know you’re reopening business, what they can expect, which services you’re offering, your plans to comply with authorities’ guidelines, and how they can book with you. Here’s swipe copy to help you let people know you’re back in business.

Hey XX,

With [state name] reopening, I wanted to check in and make sure you and your loved ones are doing ok! 

I wanted to let you know that [business name] is reopen for business, offering [insert services] that comply with state and local guidelines of maintaining adequate physical distance among 10 or less people. I’m so excited to start working with many of you again. Please rest assured that I’m staying updated on the latest information from the CDC, the WHO and local and state authorities; acting responsibly by practicing social distancing; and, last but not least, practicing good hand hygiene. 

BOOK NOW >

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks,

XX

  • Resume servicing smaller events/weddings/in-person classes/workshops/etc. of 10 or less people with appropriate physical distancing.

For everyone:

  • Depending on how long phase 1 lasts or if there is another outbreak, you may need to start thinking about moving out or modifying imminent events/weddings with more than 10 guests. To make that decision, rely on guidelines from local and state authorities.

Phase 2

Before this phase can be implemented, states and regions must show no evidence of a rebound and satisfy specific state/regional gating criteria a second time. Check with your state’s governor’s office for updates.

What this means for states per Opening Up America Again

  • Maximizing physical distance from others when in public (e.g., parks, shopping areas)
  • Social settings of more than 50 people, where distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed
  • Non-essential travel can resume
  • Schools and daycares can reopen
  • Large venues can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols
  • Vulnerable populations should continue to shelter in place

What this may mean for your business

Phase 2 of reopening business after Covid 19 still emphasizes physical distancing, but the size of acceptable social events increases to 50 people. Large venues can operate under moderate, instead of strict, physical distancing protocols as well. As always, you’ll want to follow guidelines and regulations issued by your state and local authorities on what businesses are allowed to do, how they can operate and when face coverings are required. 

Additionally, you may want to:

  • Continue using video conferencing for client meetings (meeting in-person while maintaining appropriate physical distance may be awkward)

Video chat, call or text from the HoneyBook app

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For those who cannot provide their service while maintaining appropriate distancing:

For those who can provide their service while maintaining appropriate distancing:

  • Continue to provide low or no-contact services as a way to diversify and supplement your income. Check out How to Make Money During Quarantine for 20 ideas.
  • Think through how your in-person offerings may expand based on servicing groups of up to 50.
  • Communicate proactively with existing clients. Check in to see if they will be modifying their event’s guest count to comply with your state’s guidelines or if they want to reschedule. Let them know you’re ready to provide your services and your plans to comply with authorities’ guidelines. Here’s swipe copy for proactive communication:

Hi XX,

With [state name] expanding acceptable event sizes to up to [XX] people, I wanted to check in with you on next steps for your [event name]

I also wanted to reassure you that I’ll do whatever it takes to make your [event name] a success, whether that’s modifying it to meet your needs and current state/local guidelines, or rescheduling it if you’d like to postpone. Whatever you need, I’m here to help. 

Your safety and well-being, and making sure we figure out the best way to make your event memorable, are my top priorities.

Let’s schedule a call to discuss how you’re feeling and the best path forward.

Warmly,

XX

  • Let your audience know if your service offerings are expanding based on your state and local authorities’ new guidelines. Share what they can expect, which services you’re offering, your plans to comply with authorities’ guidelines, and how they can book with you. Here’s swipe copy to help you let people know you have more to offer.

Hey XX,

With [state name] expanding acceptable event sizes, I’m excited to let you know that [business name] is now offering [insert services]. [Insert services] are perfect for events of up to 50 people, in compliance with state and local guidelines of maintaining adequate physical distance. Please rest assured that I’m staying updated on the latest information from the CDC, the WHO and local and state authorities; acting responsibly by practicing social distancing; and, last but not least, practicing good hand hygiene. 

BOOK NOW > 

If there any questions or concerns I can help address, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Thanks,

XX

  • Resume servicing events/weddings/in-person classes/workshops/etc. of 50 or less people with appropriate physical distancing.

For everyone:

  • Depending on how long phase 2 lasts or if there is another outbreak, you may need to start thinking about moving out or modifying imminent events/weddings with more than 50 guests. To make that decision, rely on guidelines from local and state authorities.

Phase 3

Before this phase can be implemented, states and regions must show no evidence of a rebound and satisfy specific state/regional gating criteria a third time. Check with your state’s governor’s office for updates.

What this means for states per Opening Up America Again

  • Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions, but still practice physical distancing
  • Unrestricted staffing at worksites may resume
  • Large venues can operate with limited physical distancing protocols

What this may mean for your business

Phase 3 of reopening business after Covid 19 focuses on physical distancing among vulnerable individuals. Otherwise, there are no more limitations on event size, nor physical distancing at events, social settings or in public. Follow guidelines and regulations issued by your state and local authorities on what businesses are allowed to do and how they can operate. 

Additionally, you may:

  • Resume meeting with clients in person
  • Resume networking at in-person events
  • Proactively check in with current clients and reassure them that you are ready for their upcoming event.
  • Let your audience know if your service offerings are changing or if your are reopening business. Share what they can expect, which services you’re offering, and how they can book with you. 
  • Provide in-person services at any event size without physical distancing

Phase 4

While Opening Up America Again is comprised of only 3 phases, we want to add a fourth, and that’s preparing your business in the event that another outbreak happens. To ensure you’re prepared for another outbreak:

FAQ

We know many questions will arise around reopening business after covid 19 and that many feelings are involved. We’ve grouped FAQs by whether you are feeling hesitant or ready (and excited) to open.

FAQs for those feeling a bit nervous

  • What if shelter in place is lifted, but you’re scared to return to work/provide your services at an upcoming event? 
    • First, try and determine the risk. Are you able to practice sufficient physical distancing? Is the event size following your state and local authorities’ guidelines? 
    • At the end of the day, you’ll need to use your best judgment on what makes the most sense for you and your business. 
    • Take a look at your contract’s “safe working environment” clause and “failure of company to perform services” clause to better understand your contractual obligations. For more details on these clauses, go here.
  • What happens if I get sick and can’t perform my service?
    • Take a look at your contract’s “failure of company to perform services” clause to better understand your contractual obligations. You’ll want to try and find a backfill ASAP, while working with your client to ensure they agree to your alternate. If an agreement can’t be reached, you should issue a refund or credit based on the percentage of the services you’ve rendered thus far. For more details on this clause, go here.
  • What happens if someone is sick at a wedding or event I’m supposed to work at?
    • Take a look at your contract’s “safe working environment” clause to better understand your contractual obligations and rights. You can reserve the right to discontinue service in the event some unsafe conditions arose.
  • What happens if someone works with me/for me and then gets sick? What’s my liability?
    • As the specifics of each business vary, it’s best to consult with an attorney about your specific situation.

FAQs for those feeling excited and ready

  • Once I am able to reopen, and I feel ready to do so, what is the best way to communicate that news to my clients?
    • Please take a look at the templates provided in Phase 1 and Phase 2 above.
  • What if shelter in place is lifted and I can perform my job and my clients can have their event, but they want to cancel out of fear?
    • We believe you should rely on your cancellation/rescheduling policy at this point.

More Resources

Disclaimer: The advice featured in this post was provided for sharing of general information and knowledge. For specific legal, tax, mental health, and professional advice, please consult an authorized professional.

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