Wondering when to reopen your small business?

A step-by-step guide to help you decide when can small business reopen.

If you’re trying to decide if you should reopen your small business during the COVID-19 pandemic—and when—check out this step-by-step guide, based on CDC recommendations, to help you make an informed decision. Keep reading to learn more or check out the handy decision tree.

1. Should you consider opening?

The first step in making your decision about whether or not to reopen is based on the following three questions:

First, is reopening consistent with state & local orders?

It’s important to be in compliance with state and local orders for your own safety and the safety of your clients, employees (if any) and the general public. We all play an important role in flattening the curve and keeping it that way. 

Second, are you ready to protect employees (if any) at higher risk for severe illness?

People at higher risk for severe illness include older adults, immunocompromised individuals and those with a serious long-term health problem. Make sure your plans for reopening take their needs into consideration.

Third, are you personally ready to reopen?

Even if state and local orders say it’s ok to reopen—and other vendors, service providers and clients want you to—you don’t have to if you’re not personally ready. Weigh the impact of not opening with reopening on your brand’s reputation, along with the mental, emotional, physical and monetary aspects. You know yourself and your business best.

If you decide not to reopen yet, and that affects upcoming events you’re contracted for, here are a couple of tips to help make sharing your decision with your community easier:

  • Lean on state and local guidelines in your communications with other vendors, service providers and clients as to why you made the decision you did (if applicable).
  • Try to ask all parties involved to postpone to a date you feel more comfortable with.
  • Consider recommending alternative venues or service providers who could step in to take your place.
  • Review your contract to determine what to do with retainers and any other money clients have paid thus far.

If you answered no to any question above → Don’t open

If you answered yes to all questions above → Proceed to step #2

2. Are health and safety actions in place?

If reopening your business is compliant with state and local orders; you are ready to protect higher-risk employees; and you are personally ready to do so, the next step is to assess the health and safety practices in your business. 

Ask yourself: Are the following health and safety actions in place?

  • Practice healthy hygiene (i.e., hand washing, wearing a cloth face covering, etc.)
  • Intensify cleaning, sanitization, disinfection and ventilation of equipment and/or physical spaces
  • Encourage social distancing and enhance spacing between people through:
    • installing physical barriers
    • changing layouts of communal spaces
    • encouraging delivery or curb-side pick up
    • limiting large events
    • avoiding self-serve stations
    • etc.
  • Train yourself & employees (if any) on health & safety protocols (Learn how to protect yourself and others)

If you answered no to any question above → Meet Safeguards First

If you answered yes to all questions above → Proceed to step #3

3. Is ongoing monitoring in place?

If you’re ready to consider reopening and you have health and safety practices in place, the final step to know if you’re ready to reopen is to have ongoing monitoring systems in place.

For businesses with employees, are you ready to:

  • Check for signs and symptoms of sickness among employees daily upon arrival 
  • Encourage anyone who is sick to stay home 
  • Create a plan for if an employee gets sick 
  • Regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities and employees 
  • Monitor employee absences and have flexible leave policies 
  • Be ready to consult with local health authorities as necessary 

For solopreneurs, are you ready to:

  • If you regularly meet with clients, check for signs and symptoms of sickness daily 
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Create a plan for if you get sick 
  • Regularly monitor developments with local authorities
  • Be ready to consult with local health authorities as necessary 

If you answered no to any question above → Meet Safeguards First

If you answered yes to all questions above → Open and Monitor

When can small business reopen? Do what’s best for you

Whether you’re ready to jump back in or are still on the fence, there’s no right or wrong answer. Reopen your business when you feel ready and respect the decision of others who may be going a different route. We’re all in this together!

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Sources: 
  1. cdc.gov/coronavirus, Workplaces During the COVID-19 Pandemic, May 2020
  2. HoneyBook, May 2020

Disclaimer: This decision tree is provided for your convenience and is not provided as a substitute for legal or financial advice. If you have any questions about how this relates to your specific business, please contact a licensed professional.

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