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How Small Businesses Can Prepare for the Holiday Season

As unpredictable as this year has been, it can be challenging for small businesses to plan ahead. However, small businesses can be hopeful that this holiday season may provide a much needed boost for their sales. While the holiday season is always a fruitful time of year for small businesses, there are still some concerns regarding the uncertainty of the spread of COVID-19. It is important that small businesses take extra steps not only to keep their businesses safe, but to soothe fears of customers who are apprehensive to set foot inside brick and mortar locations. Take the following steps to ensure that your business is safe and ready for the holiday season.
The CDC advises that business owners and their employees wear disposable gloves at all times when cleaning, if possible. Surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water, and then disinfectant should be used. Disinfectant is essential, but doesn't always remove the dirt and other debris that soap and water can remove. 
Strict cleaning policies should be adhered to, regardless of whether your business sees heavy traffic or not. Retail stores should be cleaning multiple times throughout the day, and it may be beneficial to create a schedule for cleaning in order to make it easier for employees to keep track of. The CDC advises paying extra attention to surfaces that see a lot of hand contact, such as doors, point of sale machines, keyboards, and counter and table tops.
Disinfectant is only as effective as the product used. The CDC recommends using household disinfectants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, a list of which is available here. Business owners and their employees should wear skin protection and consider protective eyewear to protect against splash hazards. Use disinfectants in a well-ventilated area, if possible. Follow manufacturer application recommendations, which should be listed on product labels. Avoid mixing chemicals, such as household bleach with ammonia or any other cleaners.
The use of wipeable covers on electronics can help further reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. In addition to aiding in cleaning and disinfecting, the presence of these covers is a good visual reminder to customers that your business has taken steps to consider their safety. 
It is important to be transparent about your policies regarding health and safety measures in the wake of COVID-19. Have a simple but stern policy regarding masks and their correct use on the premises of your business. This ensures the safety not only of your customers, but of yourself and your employees. Business owners should post their policies regarding cleaning and disinfecting in full view of customers. Such postings may reduce anxieties about entering a store. In addition, business owners can inform customers they are willing to offer delivery or curbside pickup to anyone who's hesitant to enter stores this holiday season. Any efforts to reduce contact between individuals and lower foot traffic into stores will be beneficial to cultivating a safe business and retail environment.
Every step to clean and disinfect your business each day can reassure potential customers who may be hesitant to shop in person or visit your location, and greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19.