In an effort to make sure small businesses are ready to reopen when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives the green light, the city and its partners have released a guide for small businesses to reopen safely, covering topics from where to source personal protective equipment to proper cleaning safety protocols.
“One thing we’re not going to have in the city of Detroit is to have a bunch of businesses open, have the infection rate spike, and have to close them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said at a press conference Monday.
Detroit’s COVID-19 Small Business Playbook is available for download on detroitmeansbusiness.org, a collaborative effort of 30-plus area philanthropic organizations and businesses including DTE, Bedrock, and more.
The guide is being released as the city approaches the requirements of phase 4 of the governor’s six-phase plan to re-engage the economy. Per the "improving" phase, retail businesses and offices are allowed to reopen when cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are clearly declining. Duggan pointed out the decreasing hospitalization and fatality rates in Detroit, as well as the 5% infection rate (which only accounts for people testing positive at the fairgrounds testing site).
The number of “cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are clearly declining,” the mayor said. “There’s no doubt we will be in phase 4 as it has been defined.”
As of Monday, there were 10,394 confirmed cases and 1,263 deaths.
The guide identifies six key elements of a “model policy for COVID-19 Safe Workplace,” including:
1) Initial testing of each employee for COVID-19.
2) Daily employee temperature check, health screening, and monitoring.
3) Workplace distancing and hygiene protocols.
4) Mandatory use of masks and other necessary PPE.
5) Thorough and frequent cleaning of workspaces and vehicles.
6) Ensuring a continuous adequate stockpile of necessary PPE and sanitizing supplies.
To help with that last point, next week the coalition will distribute 600,000 masks, 1.2 million gloves, and 6,000 gallons hand sanitizer to small businesses, said Dave Meador, vice chairman and chief administrative officer of DTE.
Clement “Fame” Brown, owner of Three Thirteen, “is excited to reopen our brick and mortar on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion. At the same time I’m understanding that our customers’ health is what’s most important,” he said at the press conference.
The store plans to or already has implemented the playbook’s guidelines, including installing a spit-shield at the register, requiring employees to wear masks, providing free masks to customers, restricting the number of customers in the store, and clearly marking off 6 feet so people can socially distance properly, he said.
“Although I’m excited to be reopen I’m definitely keeping in mind [COVID-19] has hit our community hard. It’s been serious and I’ve lost loved ones. I’m very intentional about providing a safe shopping experience that will honor what we’ve all done so far to get to this point.”