It has been about four months since the Philippine government has implemented the community quarantine restrictions and mandated health protocols. Until today, the impact of COVID-19 is still felt by business operations.
A number of establishments were forced to reduce their workforce or completely close down. Some employees were left jobless while others strive to place food on their tables. In an attempt to salvage the Philippine economy, the government eased the enhanced community quarantine into general community quarantine.
In these unprecedented times, businesses are navigating uncharted waters. As essential businesses transition for reopening, each one must adjust its operation to match health protocols. This is done to ensure the health and safety of everyone. Here is an article that highlights how physical stores are operating now in the midst of the pandemic.
Nowadays, you will usually hear the daily news reports uttering the words “social distancing” and the “new normal”. In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, public health officials advised people to follow the necessary health and safety guidelines.
During the enhanced community quarantine, only “essential businesses” have been allowed to continue operations such as groceries and hospitals. Under the general community quarantine, some non-essential stores were allowed to reopen given that they implement safety measures.
All physical stores are still required to follow strict health mandates. Aside from wearing face masks, customers will be asked to soak their feet on disinfectant mats before entering the store. In addition, security personnel will check the temperature and spray hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer. Hand washing areas are also made accessible to everyone.
Just like supermarkets, retailers are restricting the number of customers inside the store at a time too. A staff member will typically be stationed at the door to control the flow. As consumers get frustrated with long queues, this is only a minor inconvenience when it comes to protecting everyone from the infection.
Ensuring Customer Safety
In the post-lockdown period, it is understandable when consumers have doubts about leaving the comfort of their homes. We may not see it but the coronavirus is pretty much still sweeping the world. Since physical stores are reopening, they are committing to instill trust among customers.
The need for clear and transparent communication between physical stores and customers is vital. Retailers are now engaging with consumers about the safety measures they apply in-store such as physical distancing, limiting occupancy, temperature checks, and sanitizing areas.
Thanks to modern technology, businesses are free to inform their efforts through social media, email, and other platforms. Physical stores need customers to perceive that proper precautions are being taken in order to position them to a successful “new normal” work environment.
Protecting Employee Health
The pandemic has caused a drastic change in the retail workforce. Since the crisis began, companies decided to lay off some employees. During the reopening, retailers are shaping their business operations to protect everyone including employees.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment, employers must mandate strict health protocols toward employees too. Aside from wearing face masks and undergoing temperature checks, each employee must also accomplish daily health forms.
Physical stores are called upon to adopt flexible working hours. In an attempt to save jobs, working hours are reduced. Unlike in normal operations wherein employees work for eight hours daily, four hours will suffice now.
As the coronavirus spreads through close contact, high-density locations may pose a risk to employee health. Physical stores are coming up with solutions regarding in-store traffic problems. Work rotations are being adjusted to minimize the interactions between individuals. In addition, employers are also encouraged to support employee car-pooling plans or provide shuttle services to completely lessen travel and people’s movement.
Strengthening Supply Chains
Over the past decades, businesses relied on global supply chains for raw materials. In the Philippines, almost all goods are shipped in from China. With this being said, physical stores were left uncoordinated when the pandemic disrupted supply chains.
Travel restrictions imposed by global governments popped out left and right and shipping companies were collateral victims of the crisis.
As the country slowly adapts to the new normal, instilling resilience in supply chains is critical for physical stores. Physical businesses are now coming into the realization that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a short-term situation. It has long-lasting impacts on all businesses.
In order to manage future challenges, physical stores are creating flexible supply chain backup plans to protect themselves. By considering such a risk framework, the response will become vital in business-as-usual protocols.
COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted business operations globally. The threat it imposed is still being endured by companies worldwide. These are truly trying times for all.
In an attempt to save the economy, businesses are reopening around the country and physical stores are gradually functioning too. Settling into the “new normal” may take some time but the survival of the Philippines depends on everyone’s effort. With solutions on how business operations can return, the economy can rise once again.
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