Some Small Businesses Are Finding Unique Ways Of Navigating Social Distancing

The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

As business owners reckon with the safety and financial needs imposed by the global pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion around this idea of “the new normal.” For many small businesses, finding the new status quo has been a harrowing process of establishing a way of doing business that allows them to reopen in a way that is both safe for their customers and practical for their staff.

Masks, social distancing, regular sanitation and limited occupancy are among the newly normalized aspects of everyday life. And while the situation may seem unfamiliar, many business owners are approaching the new normal with the same old entrepreneurship and tact that helped them start their business in the first place.

The following small businesses have found ways to make light of and foster positivity out of seemingly unpleasant circumstances. They are leading this movement as they find ways to operate their businesses while adhering to social distancing protocol.

Distant Dining

As restaurants have started to re-open, maintaining safe practices within foodservice has been a top priority for owners already well acquainted with health and safety protocols. And while the pandemic has introduced new challenges to in-house dining, many restaurants have managed to get the most out of their customer capacity by opening up new floorspace within and outside the restaurant proper.

This trend has gotten so pervasive that in places like Louisville, KY, and Buffalo, NY, city officials have helped assist restaurant owners by scaling back lengthy permit processes to allow them to offer outdoor dining to customers.

The ability to offer outdoor seating is becoming increasingly vital for restaurants looking to keep afloat during these times. According to a poll from online publication Slate, 36% of respondents reported being comfortable with dining at a restaurant if outdoors while only 15% said they would consider eating indoors.

If outdoor dining isn’t an option, there are multiple ways to implement social distancing within an enclosed space. U.K. cocktail bar Mr. Foggs came up with the idea to place well-dressed mannequins at tables to help enforce social distancing requirements. Instead of having to remove tables, creating an empty-feeling atmosphere, the bar opted to occupy the space with themed seat fillers. This creative idea has drummed up business for the bar with customers emailing in requesting to come and take photos with the mannequins.

Scheduling Appointments

When it comes to creating an in-person shopping experience, it can be difficult to enforce social distancing among shoppers. But comic book store Neighborhood Comics in Savannah, GA, has found a way around this.

Store owner Lee Heidel came up with the idea to implement a private shopping experience for customers. By scheduling private appointments, the store has been able to better schedule employee shifts as well as create a safe in-store shopping experience.

In an interview with Savannah Morning News, Heidel told the news publication that “You really do judge a book by its cover, especially with a comic book, so being able to be there in person and see the merchandise, you can see pictures on the website all day long, but it’s very different when you’re interacting with these items one-on-one.”

Pivoting Focus

For some businesses, the question of how to implement social distancing for customers isn’t the main concern.

Companies like Simply Color Lab in Akron, OH, have had to halt much of their business due to COVID-19. For this photo printing company, the majority of their business derives from photographing weddings, graduations and other big events that have all been suspended due to COVID.

In trying to find ways to diversify their business offerings during these times, the company came up with the idea to start printing social distancing decals through their new SocialD Products division. The company offers an array of social distancing decal for specific industries. The signs include fun designs and inspirational quotes to help bring a bit of enjoyment to a version of the world that’s normal for now.

Going The Distance

While every business will have to tackle the necessities of the “new normal” differently, the creativity and drive on display by entrepreneurs in the U.S. and around the world has shown that, with a little effort and some amount of tact, businesses can find a way to thrive even in the most uncertain of times.

For those looking for ways to get started on finding their “new normal,” The CDC and OSHA have provided some basic guidelines for steps every business can take toward safely reopening and we’ve compiled some tips about attracting customers eager to support local business.

Most importantly, it’s vital business owners not lose sight of the fact that this path to finding a “new normal” is not the end of something, it’s the beginning of finding new ways to conduct business better, safer and more humanely.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

Posted In: Covid-19CrediblyEntrepreneurshipSuccess StoriesSmall BusinessGeneral