The past few months have made one thing clear: it’s not going to be business as usual anymore. We’ve had to adopt efforts like social distancing and flattening the curve to protect both private individuals and public health systems. And now that we’re moving forward with more relaxed restrictions, those efforts are not only here to stay—they’re going to be more important than ever.

Whether it’s to prevent unsafe conditions or remind everyone of their personal responsibilities while in public, social distancing supplies are going to be key in protecting everyone’s health.

Here’s how you can get your business ready for the road ahead with social distancing supplies.

Create a social distancing plan for your business

There are plenty of things to think about when creating a plan for your business. You’ve got to consider the health and safety of your customers, your employees and your working areas. Luckily, no one knows your business better than you.

Here’s a few places to start from when creating your social distancing plan:

  • Offices and shared workspaces – distribute sanitizer for employees, limit group meetings, move furniture around to maximize distance between team members.
  • Retail-based businesses – promote the use of your online store instead of physical locations, regularly sanitize surfaces and encourage the use of masks while in-store, offer curbside pickup to limit close contact.
  • Service-based businesses – regularly sanitize surfaces and discourage in-person visits, offer easier drop-off and pickup of supplies and documentation, develop online versions of your services and offerings.
  • Restaurants and cafes – limit the number of customers inside, require face masks and other sanitation practices, use packaging that assures food safety, offer takeout, contactless delivery and curbside pickup to limit close contact.

Having a plan that’s appropriate for your business will help you determine whether your actions are too careful or not careful enough—and let you adjust accordingly.

Gather the social distancing supplies your business needs

Once your plan is complete, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll need to make it happen. For the in-person and in-store aspects of your plan, here’s a great starting list of social distancing supplies:

Protective Face Masks

Social Distancing Supplies: Face Masks

Face masks are worn over your nose, mouth and chin to reduce contact with bodily fluids. Enabling employees to wear masks keeps them more protected over the long term, and requesting customers do the same adds to everyone’s safety and security.

High-end or surgical-quality masks are best reserved for health workers, but there are versions suitable for use by anyone else. And while makeshift masks made from cloth or a bandana don’t provide the same protection, studies have shown that they do make people more aware and considerate of their surroundings.

Protective Face Shields

Social Distancing Supplies: Protective Face Shields

Face shields aren’t exactly common in retail settings, but they provide protection from bodily fluids like face masks do while maximizing visibility during use. Featuring a clear film face cover, a padded forehead protector and a low-tension head strap, they’re easy to put on and comfortable to wear.

Though they’re often used by healthcare workers (along with a face mask), they’re a workable alternative for those in warehouses, greenhouses and garden centers.

Safety Gloves

Social Distancing Supplies: Safety Gloves

We use our hands constantly throughout the day and that makes them likely to contaminate (or be contaminated by) the things they contact. Using safety gloves is a good way to reduce that risk as they help stop the transmission of viruses and bacteria—whether that’s while packing boxes, handling pens, bundling up cooked food or touching payment terminals.

Safety gloves can be made from several types of materials. This allows for specific uses (like anti-static gloves for use in electronics warehouses) and caters to a wearer’s specific needs (like latex alternatives for those who are allergic).

Hand Sanitizer & Hand Soap

Social Distancing Supplies: Hand Sanitizer & Hand Soap

Hand sanitizer is in high demand during social distancing, and with good reason. It’s a quick way to help reduce contamination on a person’s hands—after all, it softens the membrane walls of viruses and bacteria, allowing its alcohol component to render them inactive. Plus, when it’s sitting on countertops and near doorways, people are far more likely to reach out and use it.

Hand soap is arguably more effective, but slower to use (and requires water to rinse). Therefore, it’s best stocked in employee washrooms and near sinks, so your team ensures their hands are as clean and germ-free as possible during the day.

Social Distancing Floor Decals

Social Distancing Supplies: Floor Decals

Floor decals are big, bold and bright graphics placed on the ground to provide quick, visually based information to people. During social distancing efforts, they’re a great way to remind people to keep their distance from each other.

They’re one of the most important (and endlessly usable) social distancing supplies out there. You’re likely to see them in nearly any public, high-traffic location you can think of—grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, airports, offices and plenty more.

Sanitizer & Disinfectant

Even with social distancing efforts, personal protection and instructional floor decals, humans still directly interact with the world. That means walking on floors, opening doors, turning on faucets, touching debit machines and more. All those surfaces need to be cleaned—both to treat and prevent the spread of contamination.

Using a sanitizing and disinfecting solution is a great way to ensure those interactions are as clean and safe as possible. It’s important to note that sanitizers and disinfectants aren’t strictly cleaning solutions—surfaces should be scrubbed clean first, and then sanitized and disinfected with the appropriate solution.

Stick to the social distancing plan you’ve created

One of the biggest hallmarks of success is simply being committed and consistent in your actions. And that’s what it’ll take to be successful with your social distancing plans. Sticking to your plan, being resolute in your decisions and vigilant in your cleaning efforts are all equally important.

Thankfully, with you at the helm and armed with a solid course of action (and the right social distancing supplies), it’s clear your business and its employees are in the right hands.