Shutting down was easy…
As businesses, schools and other organizations consider reopening or scaling their operations back up to pre-coronavirus levels, leaders are realizing that it is easier said than done.
Almost four months after the first Covid-19 case was diagnosed here, organizations are addressing their minds to the process of reopening; some timidly, for others it cannot happen fast enough.
But while to date, we have done well in terms of containment of the virus here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, in a few days time, our country will welcome flights from the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic where some consider that the situation is now worse than when flights from that country were cancelled over three months ago.
While we understand that life must go on and the need to jumpstart the economy, many have questioned the wisdom in accepting flights from the United States at this time. But, the decision has been made and therefore in reopening, we must plan, fully expecting that more Covid-19 active cases will be diagnosed here.
It cannot be business as usual for our workplaces, schools, restaurants, places of entertainment, churches and public transportation system lest we erase in short order, all the gains made since March. Operating safely calls for minimum distances between employees, customers, students or members; frequent sanitizing of surfaces; providing everyone with some means of frequently sanitizing hands; and increasingly, the wearing of masks in enclosed spaces and where physical distancing cannot be guaranteed.
Some of these protocols are not very popular here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and many of them have even been foolishly dismissed as unnecessary, but scientific evidence is increasingly pointing to the absolute necessity that they be followed if we want to minimize the risk of Covid-19 being contracted.
Making the necessary adjustments to operations could be costly, and after over three months of drastically reduced income or even no income, may be difficult or even impossible for some businesses to implement. Dealing with commitments to staff, many of whom have already been laid off for months, is another worry for employers as they consider what staffing levels are adequate for the new environment. Retraining may be necessary, and communicating re-opening procedures clearly and frequently is a good idea to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
What about the legal obligations of a business in the event that someone is infected in the line of duty or while at your premises? All of this must be considered.
Scaling down operations was far easier.