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Planning to reopen

Last updated June 8th, 2020

Preparing to reopen

As you prepare to reopen, start by consulting official CDC guidance as well as state, county, and city government communications to determine when it is legal and officially advisable to reopen. Reopening guidelines may vary based on the community you live in and the type of business that you operate. Make sure to review official guidelines carefully to understand reopening requirements and safeguards for your location and type of business.

Below you will find a selection of additional considerations to help you think through preparations for your business. The considerations are neither comprehensive nor exhaustive and should not be used as a substitute for official reopening guidelines.

For full illustrated documentation, please visit: Reopening workplaces amid COVID-19.

Health and safety

  • Refer to CDC guidelines for businesses and workplaces for federal health and safety recommendations.
  • Have the necessary cleaning instructions and operations in place (see the Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes).

    Increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces and spaces (eg, bathrooms)

    Reducing operating hours to accommodate additional cleaning

    Encouraging frequent and staggered sanitization breaks for all employees

    Emphasizing high-frequency, high-visibility cleaning

    Alternating and rotate lanes for cash registers to reduce congestion and allow for extra cleaning

    Providing disinfectants as well as dis-infected bags, carts, and trolleys at entry

  • Inform employees on public health guidance.

    Completing periodic health-risk categorization through at-home surveys

    Training employees on what to expect when returning to the workplace

    Establishing two-way communication channels as employees prepare for return

  • Check that employees are comfortable with returning to work.

    Use of masks required during employee commutes

    Contactless temperature checks prior to entry

    Staggered entry and work shifts

    Masks required and provided for employees

    Issuing clear guidance on sick leave, compensation and related policies

  • Continuously evaluate, update and improve safety measures.

Rethink the physical space

  • Set up proper safety signage inside and outside the business to give guidance to customers.

    Promoting healthy personal habits with high-visibility signage and media campaigns

    Highlighting new workplace-safety processes and policies on prominent displays

    Clear posters on safety guidance and sickness protocols

  • Reduce the number of physical touchpoints to the extent possible.

    Reorganizing seating and limiting headcount around one area

    Adopting “remote-first” culture of video conferencing even when in the office

    Limit sharing and disinfect PPE at regular intervals

    Ensuring physical separation between customers

    Removing or replacing high-touch communal resources

    Installing plexiglass barriers between employees and customers

    Migrating entirely to contactless payment

    Implementing curbside pickups, or define safety protocols for delivery workers and drivers

    Altering return and cancellation policies

  • Consider adjusting physical layout to enable sufficient space for customers and employees to move around.

    Improved air filtration and ventilation

    Implementing one-way store aisles with fewer sales specialists

  • Manage foot traffic of customers.

    Increasing controls at entry point

    Limiting on-site capacity

    Dedicating hours or spaces for vulnerable populations

  • In addition to referencing CDC and official state guidance, consider working with other organizations and businesses in your area that are facing similar challenges to find cooperative solutions.

Notify customers

  • Let customers know that your business is reopening (be clear about days and times that you’re open if they differ from your hours before the COVID-19 crisis).
  • Promote your hygiene and sanitation measures.
  • Email announcements and post on social media.
  • Place clear and visible signage on your storefront.
  • Use word of mouth in your community.

Prepare for post-infection

  • Have a plan in place to properly disinfect facilities if an infection occurs.

    Setting up clear measures to detect a COVID-19 positive case

    Having clear contact-tracing measures to track and identify individuals and facilities exposed to potential risk

    Communicate with employees who may have had contact with a COVID-19 positive patient

    Shut down facilities that have been exposed to COVID-19 for deep cleaning

    Establishing isolation and quarantine policies post-detection of an infected patient

    Creating clear policy for returning to facilities

  • Understand legal, liability, privacy, and cybersecurity requirements for testing.

For more information about the source, please visit COVID Response Center

The steps and resources listed are representative rather than exhaustive and are current as of date of publication. Please note that McKinsey & Company does not endorse any of the listed websites or their sponsors. The contents of this site, including any statements, articles, graphics, charts, checklists, and other materials (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or to constitute medical or legal advice.