Fighting Back Against Covid-19 Coronavirus

Fighting back against the Covid-19 coronavirus should be a priority with your business.

Fighting Back Against Covid-19 Coronavirus

Whatever you believe about the ongoing worldwide pandemic, fighting the Covid-19 coronavirus in your retail store or business should be a concern.

First known on the last day of 2019 to be an issue in the Wuhan area of China, the virus has spread worldwide. Whatever you think about it being "just the flu," driven by the media, politically based or something serious, it's real and isn't something to shrug off. Whether you have a small Mom 'n Pop retail shop or a larger company that manufactures products, ignoring any preparations could be foolhardy.

As of March 12 about 128,000 cases were known worldwide including more than 4,700 deaths. In the United States, the CDC reports 1,215 known cases and 36 deaths in 42 states and the District of Coumbia.

Some companies already have begun layoffs due to the disruption. Sports leagues in the U.S. and abroad suspended their MLS, NHL and NBA seasons. College conferences canceled conference basketball tournaments. The PGA Tour is holding events but excluding fans. Wall Street is roiling and attempting to hold fast.

How can all this affect you, the independent retailer? Multiple ways. If you get anything that is manufactured overseas in China, Thailand, South Korea, Viet Nam, Taiwan or elsewhere, supply chain distribution and transportation are grinding to a halt. Anything coming from Europe likely also will be delayed.

An example: one fishing manufacturer based in Japan has informed its United States team to let retailers know once their existing stocks of lures are out, it probably will be at least six months before resupply. That may not sound big. But to a small tackle shop that counts on those sales, it becomes an issue. Multiply that by two or three foreign companies or stateside companies that have foreign manufacturing plants, and it becomes a genuine issue.

Supply chain dynamics aside, consider just your local preparations and what you can do in your store regarding the virus. If I had a retail shop for hunting, shooting, fishing or archery, this is what I'd do right now:

Close and Deep Clean: Perhaps you already close for a day. My local archery shop is closed on Sunday and Monday. That's a perfect time for a major league cleaning of all bathroom facilities, sink faucets, toilet flush handles or buttons, counters, all door handles in the entire shop and anywhere people touch things. Counters, desks, chairs, bow grips, anything. One tackle shop I visit has a deli, so they have napkin-holders, soda machines and countertops. Every surface should get a hell of a cleaning. I'd use something like industrial grade Lysol, or maybe bleach.

Let Your Customers Know: Let your customers know you're taking steps to be preventative and cautious. Why not? Even if they think you're being a Nervous Nellie or silly for "buying into the hype," so what? I'd rather be in a place with people being proactive.

Send Employees Home: If you have an employee who is sick, send them home. This goes to your gut feeling on how sick they are, of course. If someone showed up looking like death warmed over, just send them right outside the door back home and urge them to get medical attention to take care of the issue.

Don't Panic: No need to panic. Some folks are, of course, and are emptying shelves of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. That's a lot of toilet paper. But no need to go completely off the deep board about this. Just be smart and use common sense.

Wash Your Hands!: You don't need an 18-wheeler load of toilet paper in your company bathrooms, but you may want to get more soap. Washing your hands regularly throughout the day for at least 20-30 seconds is one of the best, most effective ways to blunt transmission of viruses. Use hand sanitizers, and definitely wash up after sneezing or coughing. Urge your employees to do the same. Common sense, right?


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