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How Idaho businesses should prepare for reopening

Posted at 10:34 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 08:17:58-04

BOISE, Idaho — According to Idaho's revised statewide stay-at-home order, Governor Little says non-essential businesses can open for curbside and delivery services. Still, that leaves many businesses forced to keep the doors closed. So how can those businesses prepare now to open after April 30?

Dale Dixon, Chief Innovation Officer for Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific, says they're encouraged by the creativity they're seeing from the businesses that have remained open. Now, the BBB is asking non-essential businesses to use this opportunity to start planning how to be prepared for the April 30 date.

"Think about things in your business. Number one: we expect that there will be social distancing in place, even after April 30. So for that business, it's planning. What does social distancing look like for us in this situation? The other thing is that they're going to be encouraged to use and provide adequate sanitation and protective gear for employees, vendors, and patrons," said Dixon.

Customers also need to do their part once the stay-at-home order is lifted. BBB says look for trustworthy businesses, which in this case means a business that is putting safety first.

"Be sure you're taking advantage of the curbside pick-up and delivery options, and realize that there's going to be a limited number of people in a business at a time," said Dixon.

Dixon is also encouraging customers be what he calls "situationally aware" so you know what's going on in your surroundings, and watch for instructions or signs. That includes arrows or other signage directing a flow of traffic inside a business or even outside, pointing out entrances and exits.

Right now, Democrats and White House officials are working to reach an agreement to expand the recently-signed stimulus package. Meanwhile, many small businesses are struggling as they wait for payments from the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Both programs ran out of money last week, but a new agreement could see them boosted by $310 billion.

If a small business still needs to apply to the programs or is waiting for a payment, Dixon says be patient.

"I had a Small Business Administration (SBA) expert tell me that the SBA has processed 14 years worth of loans in the last 14 days. So the SBA is very busy, and we encourage businesses to be vigilant, to stay on top of that paperwork and their application, and to be patient through that process, understanding the volume."

BBB has a number of resources, specifically geared toward navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. For more, click here.