COVID-19 or Coronavirus has become a global epidemic. Schools are shutting down, people are working from home, and we're asked to stay 6-10 feet away from other people. More than anything, people want to know your ice cream shop is a safe, uncontaminated place. Austin Public Health (APH) has placed restrictions on restaurants that plan on staying open. Even if your business is outside of Austin, Texas, their restrictions are good practice for keeping your ice cream shop clean and safe.
How You Can Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Some of these suggestions are restrictions from APH, some are just good practices for keeping your establishment safe from Coronavirus.
1. Offer Delivery
Your ice cream shop may already offer delivery but, with the new social distancing restrictions, many people are self-quarantining. This shouldn't stop them from enjoying your ice cream! Try using apps like DoorDash or GrubHub to offer delivery to your customers. If you already offer delivery, you may consider discounting it as a gesture of goodwill for those practicing social-distancing.
2. Offer Curbside Pick-up
Recently, many grocery stores and restaurants have offered curbside pickup. This can be done by allowing customers to order online or over the phone. You could post your menu on your social media or website. This shows your customers you care about their safety and efforts in social distancing.
Try these to-go containers for your curbside orders.
3. Make Hand Sanitizer Readily Available
Put large containers of hand sanitizer in your store for customers and the public to use. Keep the hand sanitizer somewhere it's easily accessed. This is a regulation from Austin Public Health. For hand sanitizer to be effective against COVID-19, it needs to be at least 60% alcohol. Of course, the best defense against the virus is washing your hands with soap and warm water but, that’s a much more time-consuming option. Hand sanitizer is quick, it takes up little space, and it’s inexpensive. It’s your best option
4. Keep Disposable Products Out of Reach
Usually, disposable things like spoons, napkins, and straws are kept in the open for customers to take at will. This can cause a lot of contamination. The best way to eliminate this is to keep these products behind the counter, only given out by gloved employees.
These gloves are perfect for keeping your customers and employees safe from contamination.
5. Cover Your Toppings
Frozen yogurt shops and some ice cream shops have toppings in the open. You may not have the ability to dedicate one of your employees to serving toppings from behind the counter. So, a good precaution would be to cover your toppings. Give each topping an individual lid and spoon. This will reduce the spread of the virus through food.
6. Offer Mobile Payment
Cash and change carry germs and viruses more than almost anything else we touch. Try offering a discount for people using Apple Pay or Google Pay. This gives your customers an incentive to go contact-less with their payment, leaving less room for contamination.
7. Increase Sanitation Measures
We know you keep your ice cream shop clean but, with Coronavirus concerns, it's more important than ever to stay clean and safe. You can do this by using disinfectant wipes to wipe down frequently-touched surfaces like counters, screens, and doorknobs. The APH says to do this every hour.
8. Reduce or Remove Indoor Seating
Some restaurants have completely removed their indoor seating. By doing this, you can reduce the amount of social contact people have. Promote your to-go, curbside pickup, and delivery options through social media, your website, and physical signage. This way you won't lose business by not offering indoor seating.
If you do choose to keep some indoor seating, move the tables farther apart and have fewer chairs at each one. This will create more distance between people, leaving less room for contamination.
9. Don't Allow Sick Employees
The APH has a regulation disallowing employees coming to work with fevers over 100.4°F. Consider having a thermometer in your store to check employees for fevers when they come in for their shifts (sanitize it between uses with alcohol). It's easy to be frustrated with sick employees but, now more than ever, it's incredibly important not to allow anyone sick to work. This way, it'll be much harder for your store to be contaminated. Think of it like this: you'll lose more business if your store is contaminated with COVID-19 than if you're slightly understaffed for a few days.
10. Post Your Precautions
Another APH regulation is to post signage describing your efforts to keep your customers safe. Print out exactly what you're doing to slow the spread of COVID-19, laminate it, and hang it on your door. Another way to bolster the confidence of your customers is to post your precautions on your websites and your social media. Your customers want to know they're safe coming to your ice cream shop.
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a dangerous disease that has caused a global panic. In the midst of this panic, your customers still want ice cream. Offering other options for them to enjoy your ice cream shows your customers that you care about their well-being. That's what inspires them to come back.
Write a comment about what you're doing to slow the spread of Coronavirus in your ice cream shop!