COVID-19 and your busi­ness

If your busi­ness isn’t af­fected this time it will be some day thanks to some other shock

Times Standard (Eureka) - - BUSINESS - By Leila Roberts

There’s an eco­nom­i­cally dis­rup­tive pan­demic on our doorsteps. Some of you are wor­ried for your fam­ily, your employees, your busi­ness’s sur­vival. Some of you aren’t wor­ried. Let’s sharpen our disaster pro­cesses now any­way be­cause they will pro­tect us this year and in fu­ture shocks to come.

Since Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som de­clared a State of Emer­gency on March 4, our state agen­cies have been mo­bi­liz­ing. There are cur­rently no re­ported cases of com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion in the North Coast. But in my view the COVID-19 com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion rate is prob­a­bly grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially — and in­vis­i­bly — in our re­gion right now. This is likely not deadly if you’re younger and health­ier. But we all have some­one in our cir­cle of care who is vul­ner­a­ble.

If you haven’t looked up the con­cept of “flat­ten­ing the curve” and “so­cial dis­tanc­ing,” do it now to un­der­stand why pre­par­ing and pro­tect­ing each other from in­fec­tion benefits ev­ery­one dur­ing this epi­demic. I as­sume by now you’re mak­ing sure ev­ery­one on your team is wash­ing hands and avoid­ing face touch­ing. Are you sched­ul­ing regular san­i­tiz­ing cleanups at the workplace? Let­ting peo­ple know to look out for a mod­er­ate to high fever, dry cough, and short­ness of breath? Look­ing at planned travel and meet­ings to see what can be post­poned or done vir­tu­ally? Reschedul­ing your big pub­lic events?

On Tues­day I at­tended my last pub­lic event for a while; fea­tur­ing lots of COVID-el­bow-hel­los. NDN Col­lec­tive coleader Pen­nElys Droz is an An­ishi­naabe/Wyan­dot woman who grew up in the Trinidad Rancheria and came to speak to a group about her hard, cre­ative work to help cre­ate healthy economies. Here are some thoughts for busi­ness own­ers about how to deal with the im­pact of the COVID-19 epi­demic or­ga­nized ac­cord­ing to NDN Col­lec­tive’s prin­ci­ples of

Re­gen­er­a­tive In­dige­nous Com­mu­ni­ties.

Plan for chaos

If your busi­ness isn’t af­fected this time it will be some day thanks to some other shock. So in­volve your employees to cre­ate a play­book of ifthen sce­nar­ios. If you have a trade-de­pen­dent busi­ness and any part of your sup­ply chain de­pends on COVID-quar­an­tined ar­eas, your busi­ness is al­ready dis­rupted. If your busi­ness model de­pends on de­liv­er­ing ser­vices in per­son es­pe­cially re­tail or lodg­ing busi­nesses with fixed brick and mor­tar op­er­at­ing costs — you are prob­a­bly well be­yond dis­rupted and into re­ally wor­ried.

Do daily scans: are your sup­ply sources still re­li­able; what are the lat­est in­fec­tion rates; the lat­est rec­om­men­da­tions for safe work­places dur­ing this epi­demic; what new help is be­ing an­nounced. The Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health pro­vides daily up­dates on its COVID-19 web page. Low-in­ter­est Eco­nomic In­jury Disaster loans from the Small Busi­ness

Ad­min­is­tra­tion are in the works but not open for ap­pli­ca­tions yet. The fed­eral govern­ment may also an­nounce tax relief for af­fected in­dus­tries— es­pe­cially travel and tourism.

What are you go­ing to do if you can’t open for busi­ness for days or weeks? Who will step in if your key de­ci­sion mak­ers need to self-quar­an­tine?

If your busi­ness can han­dle re­mote work­ing, es­tab­lish norms like when and how to have vir­tual meet­ings, ex­pected re­sponse times for emails or phone calls, how to track work start and end times. Have you had all employees test their re­mote work pro­cesses and tools in ad­vance?

Iden­tify what you can put off un­til af­ter the cri­sis: for ex­am­ple em­ploy­ers statewide di­rectly af­fected by COVID-19 can now re­quest up to a 60day ex­ten­sion to file their state pay­roll re­ports and de­posit pay­roll taxes with­out penalty or in­ter­est.

And don’t for­get: pre­par­ing for the re­cov­ery is as im

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