Resources for Essential Small Business Owners to Keep Staff Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic



Resources for Essential Small Business Owners to Keep Staff Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Less than a month ago, life carried on as “normal” here in the United States. Even as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) ravaged across countries such as China and Italy, we felt safely protected, separated by oceans and continents. We’d get up, go to work, and then catch up on the evening news about the devastating pandemic happening elsewhere in the world…

Until it hit home, and our worlds were turned upside-down. Within a few short weeks, the U.S. became the epicenter of the virus; shreds of normalcy have turned into distant memories as we wake up every morning to the new toll of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by COVID-19.

In response to the crisis, many state and local governments have heeded federal advice by issuing the temporary closure of nonessential businesses, schools, and public services. While many of us are trying to avoid going stir-crazy as we practice social distancing at home, others are forced to carry on with business as usual, keeping their doors open to serve customers with much-needed supplies.



The catch, of course, is that nothing is usual whatsoever. Every interaction with a customer presents the risk of catching the virus, falling ill, and adding to the growing statistics. If you’re an owner of a small but essential business, it might feel like a blessing and a curse; you have the opportunity to help those in need and keep business running while so many others are tanking with the economy, yet you have the critical duty to protect your staff and keep them safe during these scary times.

Considering the infection rates among doctors and nurses who themselves lack essential safety supplies, this responsibility presents a tall order. We’re here to share resources you can use and measures you can take to protect you and your staff in the months to come.


Health and Safety Products

It’s been painful to witness the conditions of the men and women fighting on the frontline of this war. Doctors, nurses, and health care professionals have been horrifically deprived of personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to safely perform their jobs and provide critical care. Perhaps one bit of good news, is that although the federal push for manufacturing muscle has fallen rather flat, some distributors are stepping up to the plate by providing surgical masks, face shields, and hospital gowns to organizations in need.



Some businesses have been extremely greedy by price gouging these products in scarce quantities, but companies like iPromo uphold our faith in humanity by offering health and safety essentials at a fair, affordable cost.

While this company typically offers promotional products, their 20+ years of international sourcing allowed them to lend a helping hand during these tumultuous times. iPromo completely restructured their offerings so that business owners can buy essentials for their employees, like N95 face masks, hand sanitizer, and other hard-to-find safety products.

In order to help solve the supply shortage, their face masks can only be sold to health care, public agencies, and essential services—but if your business falls into the latter category, this is a monumental resource that you can’t pass up.


Print and Social Media Resources

In addition to social distancing and proper handwashing, education is one of the most important ways we can collectively end this pandemic. If you’re open for business, it’s imperative that you limit the number of customers allowed into your retail space so that everyone can maintain a six-foot diameter.

Beyond that, though, you should have proper signage up to ensure that everyone—including you, your staff, and your customers—are following the best hygiene practices. The World Health Organization (WHO) makes this information readily available, but sometimes, digital resources alone are not enough.



Take advantage of resources provided by companies like Canva who are offering free print and social media templates to help stop the spread. Their designs include essential tips from WHO that you can print off your computer to post on store walls, or save and send via text or email to get the word out.


Mental Health Care

Finally, mental health symptoms are just as important as physical coronavirus symptoms during this frightening crisis. Protect your staff’s well-being by providing them with mental health support should they feel anxious or scared to come to work, or worried over friends and family from afar.

If we come together as a community—here in the South, across the state, and the entire country—we have a shot at stopping this before it spirals out of hand.