The past six months have truly been a weird, foggy blur of slowed time, mixed with wondering how we could possibly be heading toward the end of September? It has literally been life-changing for everyone. We have learned much about ourselves (and each other) on a more personal level during this time. For better or worse, it has effected how we are interacting with each other now that Arizona and all states are opening again.
I have learned much during this time, and there have been many times I have not been shy about posting what I think. While on a personal level I don’t really mind, I have had to re-think how I present myself from a business point-of-view. Eyes are on you even if you don’t see a “like” or comment. It can have an effect on your business, and it’s important to maintain a professionalism no matter how you personally feel (this is true about anything).
With shut-downs being lifted and guidelines in place, businesses are beginning to promote more, encouraging people to come to their establishment. Musicians are promoting their gigs in restaurants, and even forming their own shows and events. I myself am beginning to explore having our radio station’s fall fundraiser and how best to make this happen. As much as we want a sense of normalcy, it’s no longer as easy as “come on out and join us!” Here are some of my own guidelines to ensure that you are advertising and promoting safely and in a way that will protect you and your business.
- Be transparent. Sure, guidelines for opening are available for anyone to see. As a business, you should not assume that everyone will see or even know what the guidelines are. Every piece of marketing, every post you make on social media, should have your guidelines on it. When I say every piece, I mean every. Not everyone sees everything your business posts, so it’s important to have that covered so anyone will know what you are doing to keep people safe and comfortable. This is especially true with any paid ads you run, as a wider audience of eyes will see.
- Have clear signage. I don’t mean one poster with small print of the state guidelines. A very clear “Masks Required” and “Maintain Social Distancing” are needed in several places throughout your establishment, depending on the size of your business. If you are having an event outdoors, have signs around the area being used as it can be easy for people to think outdoors means no mask or not as much need to distance.
- Enforce the guidelines. This is a tough one, because you want people to be respectful when they are in your place of business, but it won’t always be the case. Remain as calm as you can when approaching someone to remind them of the guidelines, and please don’t put all the pressure on your employees. Part of being a good manager or owner is coming to your employees aide should they need it. Back them up. If this is an event outdoors, have volunteers or hire people to help remind people about the guidelines. Also make sure you know the guidelines (such as maximum capacity) since you might not be an official business putting on an event.
- Follow the guidelines. While everyone pretty much agrees the virus exists, there are many different opinions on the severity of COVID-19. As a business owner or someone hosting an event, your personal opinion should not matter. The guidelines are there, and as a smart business owner you should follow them. Please don’t try and hide anything. If an employee happens to test positive please do what is required to keep people safe, even if that means needing to close down again to properly quarantine your employees and deep clean your establishment. Being honest will do more to protect you than having irate employees call you out publicly.
4a. Patrons and guests- please remember that these are guidelines businesses are using to try and stay open, and they come from the state. There is no need to reprimand the 20-something who is just doing their job. If you don’t agree with the guidelines, there are other avenues to take that do not involve hurting people just trying to make a living the best way they can.
Everyone wants this to be over, and we still have quite a bit of time until we can put most of this behind us. Until then, we should be working together- businesses AND patrons – to support each other and keep our economy, and community, growing.