The holidays are coming soon, and it doesn't look like the COVID-19 coronavirus is going away. Living in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, how will the 2020 holiday season look – and how can businesses adapt to minimize the risk to their employees and customers?
This Year's Holiday Season is Going to Look a Lot Different
Because of COVID-19, retailers are shortening their hours and encouraging online ordering and curbside pickup. Restaurants and bars are limiting capacity and discouraging large groups. Holiday festivities are being downsized or canceled. Even the Radio City Rockettes, for the first time in their history, have canceled their famous Christmas shows.
All of these changes are because of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus. Scientists fear that November and December might be the worst months of the year for the crisis. The holiday season is bound to be affected. There will be fewer people braving the crowds to shop in-person, fewer groups having holiday parties, fewer people traveling for large family gatherings. More people will be shopping online, huddling at home, and exchanging holiday greetings via Zoom and Skype.
In short, the holiday season is going to look a lot different this year.
How to Reduce the COVID-19 Risk for the Holidays
Fortunately, there are several steps businesses can take to reduce the risk of COVID infection for their employees and customers. It won't be business as usual, but it still can be business.
Thermal Scanning and Entrance Monitoring
All businesses need to guard against infectious individuals entering the workplace. Since one of the primary symptoms of COVID-19 is a high fever, employing temperature sensing cameras at all entrances can identify individuals with temperatures over 100 degrees or so and keep them from entering. In addition, facial recognition systems can sound an alert when individuals aren't wearing face masks. The goal is to monitor all entrances to keep out potentially risky individuals.
Contactless Customer Service
Not all customer service needs to involve face-to-face contact. Businesses should consider receptionist-in-a-box systems for contactless customer services. These visitor management systems replace many personal interactions with a touchscreen-based interface. These systems can also check-in and track visitors, manage visitor flow, and more.
Reduce the Crowds for Social Distancing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that people avoid close contact with others, especially in public. The CDC says individuals should put at least 6 feet between themselves and people who don't live in their household.
In office buildings, this may mean reconfiguring the workplace to replace open floor plans with individual cubicles. In retail environments, social distancing means enlarging aisles and putting more space between displays. Businesses of all types should use floor decals to indicate proper six-foot spacing.
Encourage Online Business
Another way to reduce in-store crowds is by encouraging online ordering. That means revamping websites to make them easier to use, offering fast and free (or low-cost) delivery, and facilitating curbside pickup for local customers. Non-retail businesses can also encourage online client meetings and beef up online or phone-based customer service.
Changes for Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants and bars need to limit capacity and reduce the number of tables available. Large groups should be discouraged, which will affect traditional holiday parties and gatherings. These establishments should also switch to disposable one-time-use menus or encourage customers to order from apps on their phones.
COVID-19 spreads primarily from person-to-person but can also live for days on surfaces such as furniture, doorknobs, and glass or plastic bottles. All high-contact surfaces need to be regularly and thoroughly disinfected with a cleaning spray or disinfecting wipe, especially during peak holiday traffic.
Disposable or Easily Disinfected Signage
In retail stores, banners and other signage can retain the coronavirus on their surfaces. Retailers should consider switching to holiday signage that can be easily disinfected or disposed of after use.
It's important to physically protect employees and customers from the coronavirus. One effective way to do this is to encourage the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE, such as face masks, face shields, goggles, and gloves. PPE isn't just for healthcare workers; it's essential for all business types and industries, especially during the holiday season.
Wear a Mask!
Finally, one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection is to make sure that everyone in the building wears a mask. Experts agree that face masks help keep the airborne virus from spreading from person to person. Some individuals might balk at the requirement, but it's an easy and simple precaution that all should embrace.
Let Doing Better Business Reduce Your Business' Health Risk
Doing Better Business offers a variety of products and services to tackle the COVID-19 problem. Turn to us for industry-leading receptionist-in-a-box systems, temperature sensing cameras, facial recognition scanners, and more. Our experts can help you reduce the COVID-19 in your business – and be better prepared for the 2020 holiday season.
Contact Doing Better Business today to learn more about our COVID-19 solutions.