At long last, businesses around the country are opening their doors to customers following COVID-19 lockdowns. But a lot has changed since before the pandemic took hold, with companies and municipalities adopting new measures and deploying new COVID business solutions to improve safety for customers and workers. Here are some of the trends we’re seeing take place as we head into the summer months:
Businesses are Moving Outdoors
Streets with heavy pedestrian traffic in downtowns like Traverse City (our home base) are considering closing some streets so businesses can set up outside in a more COVID-conscious format. Retailers and restaurants are planning to set up tents in front of their stores so they can still serve customers but prevent people from congregating within enclosed spaces.
With the cancelling of most outdoor festivals this summer, moving retail operations outdoors has the chance to create a street fair-like environment - although with much more emphasis on social distancing and sanitization.
Joe Frost, who with his father, Robert, owns and operates a boutique apparel and clothing store called Robert Frost in downtown Traverse City, told us he’s excited about the opportunity, but needs to figure out how to bring the experience of his store outside without damaging his products. Check out what Joe had to say in the short clip below:
We’re helping Joe and others create outdoor spaces to sell their products and stand out from the crowd. If your business is considering operating outdoors this summer, let us know!
Sanitation stations are popping up in downtown areas so pedestrians can frequently and easily wash their hands after interacting with shops or other people. Many of these have the added benefit of helping people stay hydrated on hot days and are just a good idea that towns should consider keeping going forward.
Social Distance Stickers
These little guys are showing up everywhere and really helping customers remember to practice social distancing in stores. Big box stores like Walmart are getting even more advanced by designating aisle traffic to go in one direction to reduce contact between customers. In this writer’s experience, shoppers are often loath to follow the traffic guidelines, but every little bit helps and people seem to be acclimating as they gain more experience with COVID-19-era shopping.
Employee COVID-19 Screening
Employees working in office and manufacturing settings are now being regularly screened for fever and other coronavirus symptoms. Companies are deploying everything from medical tents to drive-thru employee screening setups to improve safety in the workplace. This is often in conjunction with updates to policies allowing for more flexible sick-leave and remote work potential if people are feeling under the weather, rather than expecting them to still come in and tough it out.
All in all, while adapting to business in the COVID-19 era hasn’t been easy by a long shot, businesses and customers alike seem to be putting their best efforts forward to make it work. And with a little innovation and outside of the box thinking, people should still be able to frequent their favorite stores and restaurants this summer while keeping each other as safe as possible from the pandemic.