The importance of social distancing when it comes to running a business goes beyond slowing the spread of COVID-19. Of course, each of us doing our part to keep the number of cases low is important on a personal level. But from a business perspective, it can also encourage patronage.
Despite news stories of businesses discouraging the use of masks as a political statement, the vast majority of Americans (and therefore customers) support the precautions. Intuitively, that means facilitating social distancing is good for business. So, even if it’s not required by local laws, it could mean more success today and in the long-run.
- 1 Businesses That Benefit the Most from Social Distancing
- 2 Customer Safety Signage: Communication Is Key
- 3 Standard Social Distancing Equipment
- 4 Extending Social Distancing to the Outdoors
- 5 Let People Know Online
- 6 The Importance of Social Distancing: Partner with Experienced Safety Professionals
Businesses That Benefit the Most from Social Distancing
We believe that all businesses will benefit from investing in social distancing equipment, signage, and protocols for five key reasons:
- Keep staff, customers, and third-party employees safe and healthy.
- Ensure health and safety compliance.
- Prevent contact tracing to lead to your business.
- Encourage new and repeat clients.
- Avoid negative publicity.
But the sectors that need to be particularly cautious are:
- The hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos.
- Municipalities like public parks, post offices, and airports.
- Schools from elementary and high school to college and university campuses.
- Event and sports venues of all shapes and sizes both outdoors and in.
- Commercial and residential real estate, especially as it pertains to common areas.
- Construction sites and related hazardous area work.
Each of these industries put a particular emphasis on safety and security, and people put a lot of trust into those sectors. A breach of that trust can be a huge hit on a business’s reputation and severely discourage repeat business.
Customer Safety Signage: Communication Is Key
When it comes to most crowd management products, it’s only as good as the people willing to abide by it. Retractable belt stanchions can be ducked. Barricades can be jumped. But when everyone is on the same page, it’s much more likely that everyone will follow best practice – for their safety and everyone else’s.
That’s where high-quality signage comes into play. And by high-quality, we mean impactful signs with universal symbols, clear messaging, and straightforward designs.
These can be placed at entrances and along areas with high foot traffic. They can be presented on walls and windows as well as correspond with your crowd management equipment. Here are some of the main examples:
An A-Frame sign—or a signicade as we call it at Sonco Perimeter Security—was most commonly used for sidewalk marketing. But today, it’s also a popular choice for presenting essential social distancing and other health and safety information.
An effective A-Frame sign is one that’s positioned in places where people can’t miss it. That means by main entrances as well as interior entryways. Things to include in the messaging include:
- Wearing masks.
- Creating 6 feet of space whenever possible.
- Symptoms that mean you need to return home.
It can also display new protocols for valet parking and other services. It can demarcate pickup order areas. The possibilities abound.
Wall and Window Decals
A piece of paper taped to the glass door is better than nothing, but it’s a far cry from looking professional. Thankfully, the custom wall and window decals you can order online are surprisingly affordable.
In fact, wall and window decals presented to those passing your business can be just as effective as an A-Frame in terms of attracting walk-in business.
And when it makes sense to remove it, all you need to do is peel it off and wipe away the residuals. These days, quality decals will still come off easily even after years of use.
Custom Fence Screens
Standard construction site fence screens boost privacy and security while minimizing dust and debris. But the custom fence screen for COVID-19 and other health and safety initiates can serve those purposes while keeping you in compliance.
Like our OSHA safety signage, these fence screens can take the place of individual tin signs, which can look cluttered and be hard to track. The screen is also easier to transport and store and lasts for years, even outdoors in inclement weather.
While they’re most commonly used for interior-facing applications, certain applications may call for outward-facing messaging as well.
Custom Barricade Covers
We’ve developed a fitted social distancing barricade cover that actually displays the 6 feet of space to scale. That way, the guesswork is taken out of the equation.
Health and safety barricade covers are also infinitely easier to clean than the individual steel bars of the barricade itself. The options include the standard stock version as well as covers branded with your logo. In fact, our team of designs can fully customize a barricade cover specific to your needs and application.
Learn more here and request a free, no-obligation online quote anytime.
There are two types of retractable belt stanchion signs: post toppers and post covers.
The post toppers are what you’d see at airports, such as what’s not allowed on the plane. Post covers are relatively more new, most common at event and sports venues for promotional purposes.
But for our purposes, either can be an effective choice for delivering important health and safety info. And a combination of the two is likely the best option. For the retail industry, stanchions and compatible accessories are practically essential.
Standard Social Distancing Equipment
A lot of the social distancing equipment that’s being utilized across the country are also used for crowd management applications.
That means there’s already a large supply ready to go for businesses who didn’t need them before, particularly when the event and sports industries had to hit the pause button.
Basically, now is the time to get these items for the lowest prices, not to mention all the companies reducing their rates to help clients succeed in a post-COVID-19 world.
And when you read the equipment recommendations below, keep in mind that each can be customized in terms of colors, messaging, and other add-ons like weatherization.
Floor stickers of today are similar to window signs. Some businesses are taping up pieces of paper and putting pieces of tape on the floor. Others are investing in window decals and floor stickers.
The most effective floor stickers are bright, circular, and have pertinent messaging. If you have multiple locations, getting branded versions can create uniform aesthetics across properties.
Floor stickers specifically for social distancing need to be highly durable. Otherwise, one bad rainstorm could mean replacing the whole lot. They should also be large enough to stay noticeable, even after people get used to them.
Retractable Belt Stanchions
Plain black retractable belt stanchions alone are an extremely effective way to form queues. But customized, and they’ll increase the importance of social distancing in a similar way as barricade covers.
A custom retractable belt can display the exact length of six feet between people in line. Combined with stanchion compatible signage, and they can keep people safer and healthier both outside and in.
If you are utilizing stanchions for outdoor use, make sure that the product description specifies that it’s for outdoor use. If you’re not in an arid climate, using indoor stanchions outdoors is poor practice.
Steel barricades, also called bike rack barricades, are an effective way to create designated areas of all shapes and sizes as well as inside and out.
For example, when you need to separate patrons from passersby, barricades add that heavier-duty layer that retractable belt stanchions can’t compete with. Barricades also combine intuitively with safety signage, including the social distancing barricade covers mentioned above.
At Sonco, we offer a bundle deal on barricades specifically to help during social distancing requirements, which includes free shipping. Learn more here.
Extending Social Distancing to the Outdoors
Even before department stores reopened to see what kind of customers they would get after reopening, they established social distancing markers down the sidewalk. Something as simple as red paint lines six feet apart meant they were covered in case of a mass rush of customers. And that’s a smart way to go about helping customers practice social distancing.
Some of the key things we now know about COVID-19 is that its spread is hindered by:
- Wearing masks
- Staying six feet away from people as often as possible
- Staying home if you or someone you live with are sick
- Limiting congregating to outdoor areas
Here are some easy ways to implement that last one.
Separating Parking Spaces
Traffic delineators, channelizer drums, and traffic cones are an important aspect to parking lot and garage safety in the wake of COVID-19. When people are sensitive to their contact with others, close-proximity parking can be a turnoff for otherwise regular customers.
An easy way to reduce this concern is by putting cones in every other parking spot. This especially makes sense if you’re operating with reduced capacity. Anything that can make customers feel safer can go a long way.
However, you don’t want your parking lot to look like a construction zone. That’s where custom colors come in. Even just choosing white cones instead of red or orange can create a more welcoming atmosphere. But matching the color of your business is likely the best move.
Establishing Curbside Pickup
Curbside pickup is an effective way to encourage those uncomfortable with entering your store to still buy your products. And traffic safety products and signage are a great way to establish these curbside pickup spots.
Great options here go a step beyond the traffic cones to the heavy-duty channelizer drums, which can come with the extra-heavy bases for additional stability. Water filled barriers also come in a wide range of sizes that make them ideal for small-scale applications like this one.
Both product options are affordable and last for years in outdoor conditions, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them. And even after the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, curbside pickup might still be a worthwhile consideration for customer convenience.
Opening Streateries and Parking Lot Dining Areas
Even those who don’t own a bar or restaurant are devastated by the disruption of the hospitality industry. Going out to eat and drink is a huge part of American culture, and we’re all desperate for that to return to normal.
Where possible, businesses have successfully combined hospitality with safety by extending their dining areas to the outdoors, especially as we proceed into the summer months. Patios that extend into the shoulder and right lanes of the street are dubbed streateries. Parking lot dining will soon become a common site in most cities across the country.
The best equipment for this is water-filled barriers, but you can find more specific advice in our previous blog about opening streateries and parking lot dining areas.
Let People Know Online
People will check online to see if your business is open and what safety measures are put in place. Make sure to update your business’s listing on Google, Yelp, your social media accounts, and your website.
Countless companies are open for business despite being listed as “temporarily closed” on Google, which will just send your customers to a competitor. Don’t let all that hard work go unnoticed!
The Importance of Social Distancing: Partner with Experienced Safety Professionals
The experts at Sonco can work directly with you to figure out the best products specific to your needs. Whether a few floor stickers or a truckload bundle deal and anything between, we have you covered.
Our in-house designers can also create striking signage for your business. And you’ll receive free design proofs for approval before you pay to ensure you’re getting exactly what you’re imagining.
The best equipment doesn’t mean the most expensive. It means the most efficient in terms of both safety and cost. Our job is to make that happen simply, transparently, and quickly to give you total peace of mind. Get in touch today.