- More than half of the U.S. workforce has transitioned to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The U.S. will spend more than $1.2 trillion on bailing out corporations due to losses from the pandemic.
- Costco now requires all of its U.S. customers to wear masks when entering their stores.
- A security guard at a store in Flint, Michigan was killed by a customer who refused to wear a mask as per the store's policy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many businesses hard. The spread of the virus led many leaders around the world to put their countries in lockdown, which meant that many, if not most businesses, had to shut down. As a result, these businesses had little to no revenue coming in, and many of them could not survive. There is hope on the horizon though. Some countries have begun to ease the lockdowns, allowing some businesses to open again. But these businesses know that they will have to take extra precautions to reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus to both their employees and their customers. Here are some of the new measures that businesses have put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Online Business Boom
One measure that has become popular with businesses, both large and small, during the pandemic has been doing more business online. This doesn’t just include simple transactions. Many businesses are allowing their employees to work from home. For example, whereas the number of people working from home in the U.S. once represented a tiny minority in the workforce, it is now estimated that more than half of Americans are now working from home.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, medical experts have encouraged people to distance themselves from each other. Hence, businesses are making efforts to ensure that too many people aren’t crammed together too closely. For instance, if you’ve done shopping of any kind recently, you might have noticed lineups to get into shops. This is because businesses are trying to limit the number of people who are in their establishments at one time. The less people there are, the easier it is for them to keep away from each other. Some businesses won’t even allow people inside and have resorted exclusively to curbside pickup of merchandise.
A Lot of Sanitizing
During the pandemic, all the disease experts have been telling people to pay very close attention to keeping themselves and the things that they touch clean so as to avoid spreading the virus. This includes doing things like washing hands often and cleaning surfaces with disinfectants frequently. Many businesses are heeding this advice and have adopted policies, such as frequent cleaning of oft-touched surfaces, and giving customers access to hand sanitizer. Some businesses even require people who enter their premises to wear masks.
Taking Advantage of Government Support
Many governments around the world are enacting certain measures to help boost their economies. This may include programs designed specifically to help businesses, both big and small. There has been a lot of talk, for example, of bailouts for corporations, some of which employ a lot of people. In order to avoid massive job losses, governments may spend huge sums of money to save these corporations from insolvency. In the U.S., it is estimated that the federal government will spend more than $1.2 trillion bailing out corporations. Government support may also come in the form of advice. For instance, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has published a guide for small businesses, advising them how they should reopen in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
A responsible business is one that monitors the health of its employees. Common sense dictates that if one doesn’t feel well, he or she should stay home from work. Failure to do so could result in the infected person spreading the disease to others. Whenever an employee does contract the virus and the establishment in which they work becomes aware, that establishment may have to close again until the premises are thoroughly cleaned, putting even more pressure on the company's bottom line. Chances are that if too many people go to work sick, infections will quickly multiply to the point where governments may have to re-impose lockdowns, forcing businesses to shut down again and hurting them even more.