Business guide to Coronavirus

How to reopen your business after COVID-19

With coronavirus restrictions set to ease in the coming weeks and months, it’s time to start thinking about how to reopen your business. This guide helps you put a plan in place to get your business back on its feet as soon as you have the green light to reopen your doors.

Re-evaluate your business strategy

The pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way many industries function, and ‘business as usual’ may no longer exist. So even if you aren’t able to reopen your business yet, there are plenty of things you can do now to ensure you’re prepared when the time comes, such as reviewing your strategy.

Consider the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak to your sector and your business, and how you should adjust your strategy to suit the evolving market.

Work out the logistics

Before reopening, ensure you have clear processes and policies in place to resume trading safely. Consider:

  • how to set up your place of business to enable social distancing
  • changes you should make to your employee roster, for example, minimising the number of staff working together
  • changes you should make to your operations, for example, reducing trading hours
  • changes your policy on hygiene practices, for example, directing employees to wash their hands with soap and sanitise at regular intervals
  • changes to your cleaning policy, for example, frequently disinfecting communal surfaces like tables and chairs
  • how to train and supervise employees on new policies and procedures.

Make sure you’re well-stocked and well equipped

If your business has been closed for an extended period, chances are your supply chain has come to a grinding halt. As businesses start reopening, it’s likely there will be increased demand for supplies, and even potential shortages.

Depending on your industry, it could be wise to start stocking up on non-perishable supplies. Remember that it might take time for your sales to pick up – so keep orders conservative until you have a better picture of customer demand.

Also, stock up on supplies you’ll need to protect your employees and customers, such as soap and cleaning products, face masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

Phase back into business

Think of reopening your business as a dimmer rather than a light switch. It can be helpful to plan it in stages, so you can safely monitor and control your business activities. Here are some suggestions.

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1.  Before reopening:

  • re-evaluate your business strategy, develop policies and processes for social distancing, hygiene, cleaning and general operations
  • train employees on new policies and processes
  • ensure you have the necessary equipment and supplies to reopen safely.

2. Stage one:

  • minimise or stagger rostered-on essential employees
  • where possible, direct employees to continue working from home
  • make special accommodation for employees in vulnerable categories
  • reduce trading hours
  • adhere to social distancing measures.

3.  Stage two

  • gradually increase rostered-on employees
  • gradually increase trading hours
  • monitor COVID-19 transmission rates in your area and industry
  • make special accommodation for employees in vulnerable categories
  • adhere to social distancing measures.

4. Stage three

  • resume normal staffing and trading hours
  • continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission rates in your area and industry.




What if you need to shut down again?

The reality is we don’t know what might happen after the restrictions are lifted, and the path to long-term control of COVID-19 is not yet clear. If we see a second wave of infections in Australia, it’s possible restrictions might be put back in place.

Although the future is still uncertain right now, being flexible can help you adapt quickly while remaining as cost-effective as possible to the evolving situation. Planning and staying prepared while operating leanly will be key to prevailing, no matter what’s around the corner.