As each state maps out its response to the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners are eager to get back to work and serve their customers. While some parts of the country have begun a phased reopening of their economies, COVID-19 restrictions by state vary and can be confusing.
It can be difficult for business owners to know how to proceed, so we’ve gathered some tips on finding the most up-to-date information about the rules in your state, determining when to reopen business operations, and preparing your company for its comeback.
While lots of us have been following the news of the nationwide impact of the pandemic, you’ll find the most relevant information for planning your next moves locally. The official word on reopening your business will come from your city or town’s government officials and state governor. The following resources can help you keep up with the official plans in your area for when to reopen business enterprises that have been shuttered because of the virus.
What Businesses Can Reopen in California?
On May 4th, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an updated phase approach for businesses reopening in California. For the latest information for businesses in California, here is information on the latest stage of reopening.
To stay up to date with all California business restrictions, follow the California COVID-19 Response website and your local California county information.
What Businesses Can Reopen in Florida?
Governor Ron DeSantis announced a recent set of guidelines on first phase of business reopening in Florida. For all of the latest updates and business resources for Florida, visit the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
What Businesses Can Reopen in Texas?
In Texas, businesses can follow the latest information on all COVID-19 restrictions, by visiting the Office of Texas Governor website. For a list of all types of businesses that can open in Texas and a timeline for each business type, you can visit the full list of business types that can re open in Texas here .
Businesses Reopening in All Other States
Governing magazine keeps a daily running tally of the reopening plans in all 50 states, with links to governors’ orders and other official announcements. The web page also features an interactive map that shows instantly whether a state’s economy is closed or reopened.
CNN has an interactive, continuously updated online listing that highlights the basics of the status of business reopenings in each state. Besides providing a brief recap of the latest developments in the state or states where you do business, it also lets you do a quick comparison of what’s happening in other areas.
State & Local Government on the Net provides links to state government websites in case you want to dig deeper into the plans and regulations issued by your governor and other state officials.
Preparing Your Business For Reopening
While you prepare to reopen, revisit your business plan to see whether it could use some tweaking —or a major overhaul — given the events of the last few months.
For instance, maybe you have a restaurant that shifted to takeout and delivery only during the shutdown. How did you do? Would it make sense to expand those services to represent a bigger part of your business going forward? If you’re in retail, would starting or growing an online catalog be a viable option for you in the post-pandemic world? If your gym or hair salon has been giving customers free virtual workout or hairstyling tutorials, perhaps they can become an online marketing tool, or even a paid service.
If you’ve closed down a brick-and-mortar location that will be reopening, you’ll need to take stock of the physical space and be ready to make the required changes to keep your staff and customers safe. This may include purchasing safety supplies and equipment or making changes to the floor plan to help maintain a safe distance.
Plan Staffing and Scheduling
Many small business owners, who are already frantically trying to figure out the latest COVID-19 restrictions by state, are trying to implement staffing levels that will comply with the new rules. Once you’ve reviewed your local requirements, you can start planning how to adapt your old staffing and work scheduling practices to the new social distancing times we’re in.
Maybe at least some of your staff will work from home at the beginning of your back-to-business transition. If you’ve already had the opportunity to try out remote working during the lockdown, this is a good time to consider whether you want to incorporate that kind of flexibility long-term.
If workers you’ve had to lay off have moved on to other jobs, or you’re anticipating an onslaught of pent-up demand, then developing a strategy and securing finances to hire more staff will be part of your reopening prep.
Pay Attention to Your Supply Chain
While you’re educating yourself on how COVID-19 restrictions by state apply to your own business, be sure to check out how your vendors and other business partners will be affected. Even when they’re allowed to reopen, not all of them may be in a position to do so. Before you reopen, research some potential alternates in case you need them. As this Inc. article points out, depending on your particular business, you may also want to consider how to handle the logistics and cost of shipping products to customers who may not yet be able to do their shopping in person.
Planning for the future is always a good idea, but it can be especially helpful in times of uncertainty, both to give you confidence as a business owner and to start off on solid footing when getting back to work. Lay the groundwork now by preparing your small business to reopen so you can hit the ground running when you get the green light from your state and local officials.