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Reopening or Pause?

We are starting to see more and more countries around the world starting to slowly reopen their economy's after some really strong and sometimes even draconian lockdown conditions. And as they do, governments are imposing harsh conditions that businesses need to implement before they can even begin to attract clients.

In Greece - a country with a relatively low infection rate when compared against Italy, restaurants are reopening with strict measures to limit the number of patrons and buffets have been outlawed. Beaches are being reopened with a requirement for plastic screens between beach loungers. And hotels are being opened under strict containment protocols - some even being designated as local isolation stations.

The same is happening in the UK, where tourism will be restarted sometime in June - but with a requirement that arriving tourists spend 14 days in quarantine on arrival. Pubs and the village pub-life will be changed and strict social distancing will become the norm. Retailing globally will be faced with some harsh conditions, while ordinary businesses will need radical rethinking to meet government conditions.

In South Africa, we face the prospect of even longer lockdown as the government vacillates over the need to reopen the economy or minimise COVID-related deaths, and industry bodies hold endless think-tanks, webinars and scenario-planning exercises to build their case for an early end to the lockdown. And while all of this is going on, the average business owner sits waiting for the grand re-opening of the economy, blissfully unaware of the very strict measures that will be required before they can welcome their first client.

Now is the time to start preparing for the eventual reopening. Start implementing measures to 'covid-proof' your business without being told to do so. There are more than enough examples of what is going to be expected to get a pretty good idea of what you will need. On the workplace front, you will need to demonstrate that you have taken every reasonable measure to protect your employees; to raise awareness of the virus and measures to combat the spread; to establish protocols and reporting systems to meet government regulations and so-on.

For your clients and guests, you can start implementing safe environmental measures that ensure their safety and health while on your premises. Creating protocols and systems that allow them to interact and deal with your staff; establishing clear guidelines and rules for social distancing; providing the necessary PPE and sanitising opportunities and ensuring that you have created and can extend awareness and information on your measures are just some of the things you can do today.

Waiting for the proverbial 'shoe to fall' will mean that you are behind the curve when the signal to trade is given. You will be unable to benefit from your new-found freedom until approved by various local and national authorities, and you will be no better-off than under lockdown.

So, if you find you are spending more time than you should daydreaming or gardening under lockdown, start preparing your business and employees for the future you want for yourself. At, we have a complete set of standards that can help, but you need to decide whether it's worth doing.

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