Reopening Checklist: how to get ready for “Normal”

With rolling business closures still in effect around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. But at the same time, a majority of business

By Lauryn Chamberlain

23 Mar 2021

3 min

With rolling business closures still in effect around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. But at the same time, a majority of business locations in the US have been allowed to reopen in some capacity – and industries that saw major disruption during the pandemic, from gyms to restaurants to retailers, are starting to think about how they can come back in a big way.

A "return to normal" is talked about every day, but unfortunately there isn't a magic date on the calendar we can look forward to. In some parts of the world, a full return might come quickly, while in other places it will be gradual. But the end does appear to be near, so businesses need to start preparing today – or else they might find themselves falling behind the competition.

In an effort to help businesses that have been affected by COVID get back quickly, we've put together a checklist to keep your customers informed, bring them back to your locations when the time is right – and drive more revenue so that you can emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.

For all verticals:

  • Indicate which locations are open
  • With so many shopfronts closing (either temporarily or for good), people are checking online before hitting the street.
  • Update [store/gym/restaurant] hours across platforms (website, GMB, Yelp, etc.)
  • Open and close times have varied sometimes day-to-day, so be sure the information is updated in real-time wherever people might search.
  • Communicate COVID safety protocols
  • Vaccines are happening, but different people have different expectations. Remember to communicate the dos and don'ts of entering your business.
  • Start hiring
  • Hiring great people can take weeks, sometimes months. Even if you aren't ready to reopen today, make sure you have a team ready to go when it happens.

For gyms & fitness centres:

  • Indicate contactless check-in options on Google

  • Share revised class schedules

  • Inform customers of specific COVID-related updates (e.g. masks are required while working out; new gym cleaning procedures)

For restaurants:

  • Share revised delivery/takeaway hours

  • Indicate contactless options on Google

  • Update dine-in options across all locations (including indoor and outdoor seating, etc.)

For retailers:

  • Update in-store shopping/curbside pickup options

  • Share cleanliness and in-store sanitary standards

  • Re-stock most popularly searched items based on store locations

The past year has been met with a lot of uncertainty and, while there's still some volatility today, businesses have a big opportunity in front of them. But reopening successfully isn't about just flipping the closed sign to open – businesses need to put in the work, including making sure their digital tools, like search, are doing some of the heavy lifting. Not only will it achieve a smoother transition but, importantly, it will deliver peace-of-mind to customers. And that means more trust and more business.

Yext launched a #Back2Biz programme to help businesses with their reopenings. To learn more – and to claim an exclusive pricing offer for Listings, Yext's local search solution –click here.

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