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5 Things Small Business Owners Can Do in Response to the Coronavirus

Fever, lethargy, dry cough are the most common signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Some individuals also experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, and a sore throat.

About ⅙ of coronavirus patients become seriously ill and have difficulty breathing. Older people and those with existing health conditions are at a higher risk for developing these complications.

Communicate with your staff about these symptoms. Should a member of your team develop symptoms, it’s important for them to seek testing and consider self isolation.

2. Explore Alternatives

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about employees working from home. Many large corporations allow employees to work from home, but that may not work for your small business. If employees do have to share physical space, make an effort to move desks around to place more space between each team member.

If it’s real-time communication that you need, consider teleconferencing options like Skype or Zoom. These platforms allow multiple team members to connect virtually from the safety of their home.

3. Consider Business Interruption Insurance

You don’t have to look far to see the economic impact of the coronavirus and fear surrounding it. Countless conferences and events have been cancelled – and those large organizers almost certainly have insurance to cover their losses.

But it’s unlikely that most of the affected small businesses – restaurants, event venues, photographers and others  – have such insurance. Ask your insurance broker about business interruption insurance to cover unexpected major events and see what qualifies for coverage. While it may not cover this emergency, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’re prepared for the next time your business suffers similar economic losses.

4. Don’t Force Employees to Travel

If your employees are nervous about the coronavirus, be responsive to their concerns.

Don’t require employees to travel or to attend large gatherings if they’re concerned about exposure. If they get sick, you may find yourself facing liability issues. Even if they don’t get sick, you’ll have disgruntled workers and low morale.

5. Reassess Workplace Cleanliness

While there’s been a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding the coronavirus, there’s one thing health experts and leaders worldwide agree on: washing your hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent getting sick.

Make it easy for your employees to keep clean by placing hand sanitizer throughout the workplace and ensuring soap is well stocked. It’s also a good time to replace sponges and towels, since they can be a harbor for germs.