Local shops and convenience stores have a critical role to play during a pandemic. They’re a relatively safe port of call for local communities, providing essential commodities and, if the right social distancing measures are enforced, doing so in a way that’s safe and secure. Those that do their job well might be remembered by the local community long after the pandemic has come to an end.
Until then, however, a pandemic confers plenty of risk onto the proprietors of these kinds of shop. It’s worth thinking about how these kinds of risk can be managed, and how your shop can be protected during times like these.
Insure against Risk
If you’re unlucky, then a single damaging incident can be enough to sink your entire business. You might guard against a range of problems through the right insurance. Look for a provider whose products are tailored to the needs of small businesses. Not only might you get a superior quote – you’ll also get greater specialised support in when the time comes to look for a claim.
Control the number of customers
The size of your store will determine the number of people who can comfortably be allowed in at the same time without creating an unacceptable social-distancing problem. Know what the number is, and impose a one-in, one-out policy once this figure has been hit. During a pandemic, most customers will be compliant and understanding.
If your premises are lying unused, then they’ll make a tempting target for burglars. There are a few means of limiting this risk. For one thing, you might put into place procedures which limit the amount of cash in the till. You might also install quality CCTV and security lighting; digital cameras have come a long way in a short timeframe, and getting a high-definition image of the people coming through the front door is easier than ever it has been.
Having boxes of stock lying around the shop floor doesn’t just look unsightly (and unprofessional). It also presents a safety hazard. Customers and staff might trip up over the clutter. Since the space is limited, they might be forced closer to one another, thereby increasing the risk of contagion. And then there’s the likelihood that a shoplifter might use the clutter to conceal what they’re doing.
Be on Good Terms with Neighbours
As we’re so often reminded, a pandemic is a period during which we’re all In It Together. And this applies to small businesses, too. If you’re on good terms with the people around you, then they’ll be more likely to call the police when something happens and you’re not around. By the same token, it’s also worth being on good terms with your local police – offering them free coffee, if you’ve got a machine, is a good start.