At this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of abating in the United States. In fact, in many states the number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths is rising. At Champs Chicken, we’ve been thinking in depth about how the pandemic might affect the food retailers, restaurants and convenience markets that carry our products. We think it’s time to consider another layer of health and safety measures to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.
There’s a lot, even at this date, that we still don’t fully understand about how the coronavirus is transmitted. So if you haven’t done so (and why haven’t you?), think of how your customers experience your store environment. Where do they walk, what do they touch? Be intentional about how you’re going to limit personal contact and keep things clean. Come up with a list of guidelines that all of your employees are expected to observe. Don’t deviate from your plan. When your employees know what to expect, and what is expected, things will settle into a sort of rhythm that makes it easier to do business, even under the current circumstances.
You’ve probably already implemented some basic protocols for limiting customer contact and sanitizing surfaces in your store. We’d like to offer some additional measures.
– Buy and use a touch-free thermometer. You’ve probably seen these in use. These gun-shaped devices can register a person’s temperature by pointing it at their forehead from a few inches away. Use the thermometer to screen every employee for fever before they start their shift. Fever is a sign that a person is ill. Whether they have COVID-19 or not, it’s best that they don’t work that day, regardless. A COVID-19 test may be in order.
– Make disposable face masks available to all employees. Whether they typically meet the public or not, each team member should wear a mask. Sure, it’s an inconvenience, but so is getting sick. Mask wearing may be the law in your jurisdiction anyway. But even if it isn’t, face masks are the most effective way for preventing droplets and aerosols containing the virus from escaping the mouth or nose and infecting another person. Establish rules for how the masks are properly worn, so everyone understands and can comply. This will give your customers confidence that your establishment is taking the pandemic seriously, and that your store emphasizes safety.
– Emphasize walk-up windows, drive-through, delivery and self-service. If you have the ability to introduce these or maximize them, they make it possible to do business and take in more revenue without as much customer contact. The Champs Chicken Grab & Go program is an ideal way to provide quick and delicious food to your customers and keep things touch-free.
– Install Plexiglas shields at the counter. The cashier area is where patrons are most likely to have conversations with your employees. An additional, transparent barrier between your customers and your team members will further decrease any risk of contamination by droplets or aerosols.
Over time there may be even more you can do to be safe and beat the virus. Keep up to date on the latest best practices. Just remember: As much of a hassle as all of this is, these additional health and safety measures can mean the difference between being open and doing business, or not being open at all.