COVID-19 Coronavirus Small Business Action Center

The world is currently in the grips of the COVID-19 virus which originated in Wuhan, China. The virus has infected nearly all of the United States and is driving public hysteria and panic buying behaviors. We’ve created this page to try and help small business owners get a grasp on what is happening and take action to protect the health of their customers and the health of their business.

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Google My Business / Google Maps Tips

Google My Business, the business listing platform portion of Google Maps, is asking businesses to update their profile if they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inside of your Google My Business dashboard on the Home tab you will see a new message. The link in that message leads to a page that reads “If your business is affected by COVID-19, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. For example, change your hours of operation if you’re closing early, or add more details to your description. The updates will show on your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.”

google my business coronavirus message

A message is appearing in Google My Business profiles that asks businesses to update their customers about how COVID-19 is impacting a location.

Link to Google My Business Documentation for Businesses Affected by COVID-19

That message has a button that links to an article from Google titled “Businesses affected by COVID-19: Provide customers with updated info”

CLICK HERE TO READ IT

General Tips

Nearly all small businesses in the USA and Canada are feeling some sort of impact from the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. Here are tips that should help you during this time.

From the CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

  • Send employees showing any illness symptoms home.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning your space including door knobs/handles, bathrooms, sinks, etc…
  • Ensure you are seen cleaning your space by customers.
  • If not possible to provide a clean, healthy, COVID-19 free environment close your business temporarily and communicate to your customers.
  • Allow employees who perform digital work to work-from-home, move any possible work to digital at least temporarily.
  • Reduce in-person contact as much as possible.
  • Provide social distancing options when possible.
  • Have staff wear disposable, protective gear (face masks and gloves) when possible.
  • Offer customers hand sanitation options.
  • Keep bathroom soap dispensers full.
  • Eliminate smoke breaks for employees as coughing after smoking sends the wrong signal to customers.
  • If you are a single person business, work from home when possible, avoid using a coworking space.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tips

These are tips from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to small business owners in the USA to address the Covid-19 pandemic. The tips below are just summarized, to read the full description of each one read the original article here: Coronavirus: 8 Things Your Small Business Needs to Do

The U.S. Chamber also has a toolkit with messaging examples and social media graphics to help small businesses respond. You can find those materials here: Coronavirus Response Toolkit from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  1. Establish a Remote Work Option – Allow employees to work from home, create a work from home policy including times to be online, communication mediums, how responsibility for tasks will be delegated, and what platforms / tools are acceptable to use.
  2. Reduce Meetings and Travel – Postpone or hold client and team meetings virtually, suspend all outbound travel, conferences, etc…
  3. Give Employees Flexibility – Be understanding of employees with kids and with college students, work with any employees suck in quarantine or abroad.
  4. Communicate Transparently With Your Customers – Tell your customers what you’re doing to mitigate their risks.
  5. Be Obsessive About Hygiene – No handshakes, keep door knobs disinfected, set a good example of not touching your face.
  6. Shift Your Sales Strategy to Online – Get in-store staff to communicate with customers via online platforms such as social media.
  7. Consider Business Interruption Insurance – Less about the Covid-19 pandemic and more about planning for future events. If you’re experiencing revenue loss or other issues it may be good to start getting ready just in case something else happens in the future.
  8. Plan For the Long Term – It may take several months to contain Covid-19 and public panic, that means your business needs to ready for the long-haul. Start talking with suppliers, landlords, investors, vendors, etc… about what options you might have, should you need them.

Restaurant Specific Tips

Restaurants stand to be some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak in the US and Canada, we’ve already received reports of several restaurants simply shutting down instead of trying to get through this. It is our hope that these tips and documentation from the CDC helps your restaurant.

From the CDC: Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

If you are being asked to close your restaurant to dine-in guests or are doing so because of positive cases in your community. Here are some ways to help your guests, staff, and business cope if you do close your dine-in restaurant.

  • Offer carryout dining, but work to not allow lines or queues (barbecue places, etc…).
  • Offer delivery with your own staff. – Instead of using a delivery app ask your typical wait / server staff if they can do deliveries. This will help reduce costs to customers and keep income with your staff.
  • Offer delivery via a delivery app (Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, Caviar, etc…) if you already offer this make sure to highlight it on your social media.
  • If you’re not being forced to close dine-in but you want to promote social distancing anyways, offer a deal or special for customers using delivery service.
  • If you have entertainment at your restaurant consider having the entertainers come in to the restaurant and allow customers to watch via an Instagram, Twitch, Facebook, or Zoom live stream / chat session.

 

Tips for restaurants not in an area where closing dine-in is yet necessary.

  • Ensure your staff are wiping down door knobs, handles, and push panels at least once every 30 minutes.
  • Ensure all staff handling food in the kitchen and front of house are wearing disposable, food safe, gloves.
  • Offer customers sealed and sanitary disposable cutlery, cups, and containers at request.
  • Ensure staff are using sanitary wipes or spray to wipe down menus between customers.
  • Ensure staff are removing and cleaning condiment containers or wiping them down with sanitary wipes or spray between customers.
  • Remove and/or cover up tables and disallow customers to sit at them to provide social distancing.
  • Offer hand sanitizer and/or hand sanitizing wipes to customers at their table.
  • Eliminate smoke breaks to avoid having staff coughing in front of customers.
  • Wipe down pagers etc.. using approved cleaning supplies between each customer.
  • Request staff that have illness symptoms stay home, and preferably offer to pay them what they would have made (hourly + tips).
  • Encourage more at risk customers (elderly and those with compromised immune systems) to stay home and order from whichever online app you are partnered with.
  • Communicate your commitment to cleanliness via your social media channels.

These States and Cities are Shutting Down Restaurants and Bars

California
Restaurants: Dine-in capacity reduced by half
Bars: Closed
Brewpubs: Closed
Wineries: Closed
Until: unknown

Connecticut
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Concert Venues: Closed
Nightclubs: Closed
Until: unknown

Dallas, TX
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Concert Venues: Closed
Nightclubs: Closed
Until: April 29th (previously March 20th)

Denver, CO
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Concert Venues: Closed
Nightclubs: Closed
Until: May 11th

Fort Worth, TX
Restaurants: Dine-in at half of normal capacity (max of 125)
Bars: At half of normal capacity
Concert Venues: At half of normal capacity (max of 125)
Until: unknown

Houston, TX / Harris County
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Nightclubs: Closed
Until: March 30th

Illinois
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Brewpubs: Closed
Wineries: Closed
Until: March 30th

Kentucky
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Until: unknown

Maryland
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Until: unknown

Massachusetts
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Until: April 17th

Michigan
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Cafes: Closed
Until: unknown

Nashville, TN
Restaurants: Dine-in capacity reduced by less than half, no more than 100
Bars inside of Restaurants: Capacity reduced by half, no standing allowed
Bars: Closed (especially on Lower Broadway)
Until: unknown

New Orleans, LA
Restaurants: Dine-in capacity reduced by half, must close by 9pm
Bars: Capacity reduced by half, must close by midnight
Nightclubs: Capacity reduced by half, must close by midnight
Until: unknown

New Hampshire
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Alcohol delivery by restaurants: Beer and Wine only, must be ordered with food
Bars: Closed
Concert Venues: Closed
Nightclubs: Closed
Until: unknown

New Jersey
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Concert Venues: Closed
Nightclubs: Closed
Until: unknown

New York (entire state)
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Concert Venues: Closed
Nightclubs: Closed
Until: unknown

Ohio
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Until: unknown

Pennsylvania
Only in these counties: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Until: unknown

Texas
Only in these cities/counties: Dallas, Dallas County, Fort Worth, Harris County, Houston, Tarrant County
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Alcohol delivery by restaurants: must be ordered with food
Bars: Closed
Until: unknown

Washington
Restaurants: Delivery, drive-thru, or to go orders only
Bars: Closed
Until: unknown

These States With Closed Restaurants are Allowing Alcohol Delivery From Restaurants

  • New Hampshire (beer and wine only, with food)
  • Texas (with food)

Examples of Social Media Messaging for Restaurants

https://www.facebook.com/CowboysRedRiver/photos/a.594887273899126/2751900334864465/

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9riWUEFSg_/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note from our CEO/President A post shared by Medieval Times Dallas (@medieval_timesdallas) on

Event Hosting Tips

Tips for SMBs hosting events or event hosting / planning companies operating during this time. Stop surveying your audience, it’s time to take more decisive action.

From the CDC: Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings

Update 3/15/2020: The CDC recommends all events over 50 people be cancelled or postponed for 8 weeks (until roughly the week of Sunday May 10th). From the CDC: Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready

  • Cancel or Postpone any events with over 50 people in attendance until at least the second week of April.
  • Consider cancelling or postponing events with 25 people or more until at least the second week of April.
  • Ensure staff are wearing disposable gloves and face masks.
  • Do not encourage any ‘touching’ such as shaking hands, high-fiving, or ‘moshing’.

Gym Tips

These States and Cities have Closed Gyms

  • Connecticut
  • Dallas, TX
  • Fort Worth, TX (50% of capacity)
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Postpone all group classes, especially those indoors.
  • Turn off at least every other cardio machine such as your treadmills, ellipticals, and StairMasters.
  • Reduce your overall capacity by 50%.
  • Ensure staff is frequently wiping down equipment, door handles and knobs, lockers, showers, sinks, and toilets.
  • If you charge a membership fee you may want to reduce or eliminate that to keep new signups coming.
  • Close all steam rooms, hot tubs, tanning booths, and pools.
  • Ask guests coughing, sneezing, or who look ill to leave.
  • Eliminate any guest pass usage and single-day pass sales.

Mark Cuban LinkedIn Q&A

Mark Cuban spent hours on Saturday hosting a Q&A on via his LinkedIn account in hopes of helping small businesses stay afloat and keep from laying off employees.

Link to the full Q&A on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/mark-cuban-06a0755b_smallbusiness-smallbusinesssupport-smallbiz-activity-6644629791930662912-y5k9/

COVID-19 Financing Options for Small Businesses

U.S. Small Business Administration Loans
The Small Business Administration is releasing loans to small businesses in areas that have declared a disaster due to COVID-19. SMBs can apply for up to $2 million in disaster relief funds to aid in recovery efforts.

Currently only some businesses in these states are eligible to apply: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

In some cases businesses in an entire state are eligible, in other cases only those in specific counties are eligible.

The loans for SMBs are at a fixed 3.75% interest rate. Non-profits in these areas are also eligible for loans at a fixed 2.75% interest rate.

Read more and Apply for an SBA Coronavirus Disaster Recovery Loan Here

Read the SBA’s “Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources” Article Here

Facebook Grant
Facebook has dedicated $100 million usd in cash grants and ad credits to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 closures and restrictions. If you’re a business trying to make a pivot during this time, the ad credits could become extremely useful.

Read more and apply on the Facebook Small Business Grants website here
Note: Facebook also has a COVID-19 Business Resources Hub which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/resource

Ask Us Your Small Business COVID-19 Coronavirus Questions

Do you have questions that weren’t answered in this article? Questions about something we’ve discussed, linked to, or a tip we’ve given in this article? We’re here to help small business owners just like you. Send us your message and we’ll do our best to help you through this, there’s no charge, no email list, just the help you need.

References

https://nypost.com/2020/03/16/ny-nj-conn-announce-state-wide-coronavirus-business-closures/
https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/2020/03/16/michigan-orders-gyms-cafes-theaters-to-close-limits-bars-restaurants-to-carry-out-delivery-amid-coronavirus/
https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/more-states-cities-tell-restaurants-end-dine-service
https://fortworth.culturemap.com/news/city-life/03-16-20-fort-worth-limits-restaurants-bars-coronavirus/
https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/coronavirus/all-denver-restaurants-bars-to-stop-dine-in-options-beginning-tuesday-through-may-11
https://www.fox26houston.com/news/harris-co-shuts-down-bars-dine-in-restaurant-service
https://www.fosters.com/news/20200318/sununu-restaurants-can-offer-beer-and-wine-with-take-out-orders
https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/texas-news/texas-restaurants-can-deliver-alcohol-under-new-waiver/2333974/