Returning to In-Person Experiences
As the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan continues to move forward, organizations find themselves with questions about how to operate safely in this new atmosphere. While we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and maintain efforts to flatten the curve, many adjustments are being made across the province to achieve this goal and keep people as safe and healthy as possible.
While there is no ‘one-size fits all’ plan that applies to every organization and group across Saskatchewan, there are many good examples of best practices that you should consider as you move towards re-opening for the general public. Here are some things to consider, and some steps you should take, as you begin to welcome back patrons:
- Prepare the Building
One thing that all organizations will have to deal with is changes to the current format and layout of their buildings. In order to maintain social distancing guidelines, you will have to examine what you can do to ensure the safety of your patrons and staff once you have re-opened.
Things to Consider: Hand sanitizer stations prior to entry, use of ‘one-way hallways’ where possible, stickers/decals to mark foot traffic ‘lanes’, creation of and enforcement of a regular cleaning plan and schedule, signage for new guidelines/public expectations while visiting, reliable stockpile of cleaning supplies, and reduce ‘touch points’ for patrons.
- Prepare the Workforce
In addition to preparing your building, you must also ensure that your staff are prepared to work under these new guidelines and conditions.
Things to Consider: Allowing some staff to continue to work from home (when possible), allowing staff to provide feedback and suggestions for cleaning and health guidelines, providing personal protection equipment (PPE) such as masks and hand sanitizer, instructing staff on proper use of PPE, ensuring staff understand and enforce new guidelines and cleaning schedules.
- Control Access
As your organization re-opens, you must consider public health guidelines with regards to maximum occupancy.
Things to Consider: Identify the maximum allowable number of patrons within the building at one time (and whether staff are included in this number), ensure practices are put in place to prevent exceeding maximum occupancy, consider establishing ‘bookings/appointments’ if possible to maximize the number of patrons on-site while minimizing exposure to others, and consider instituting a visitor tracking list in case of an outbreak in order to notify visitors promptly.
- Communicate with Your Audience
Now more than ever, communicating with your patrons is a top priority as part of your re-opening plan. Whether it’s through social media or community signage, you should be prepared to let people know that you’re opening AND that there are guidelines around your re-opening. If you are requiring patrons to wear masks, for example, it's best to let them know about that guideline before they visit without one. And if you are requiring patrons to use PPE, such as masks, while on-site, explore whether or not you are able to provide these items to guests or would encourage them to provide their own.
Things to Consider: Use your existing communications tools (social media channels, local newspaper, local signage/posters, advertising, etc.) to promote your re-opening to the public as well as your patron expectations for health guidelines, consider incorporating your digital channels into your re-opening plan to continue offering digital experiences in addition to in-person programming, ensure staff and volunteers are adequately trained in order to answer questions and concerns that may be posed by visitors.
As always, be aware of current general public health guidelines and how those impact your ability to provide in-person programming. Rules may change just before you open, so it’s important to make sure your plan is aligned with health guidelines.
While this is not an exhaustive list of all the things you can do to prepare your re-opening, it is a good start to help you identify where to start your organization’s own personalized re-open plan.
For further reading, and more ideas to help you get started, check out:
- 3 Things Arts and Cultural Organizations can do to Make Visitors Feel More Comfortable When They Reopen
- 5 Ways to get Customers to Return When Reopening
- 5 Practical Ways to Manage Your Visitor Operations During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- 7 Tips for Re-Engaging Customers After COVID-19 Quarantine
- Recommendations & Considerations for Re-Opening Museums
- Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening Your Workplace