After a few months of relative stability in terms of COVID, Omicron has greatly affected our business community. We’ve asked NoHo businesses how they’re handling the surge, and answered some common questions we are hearing in this period. These questions and practices were discussed on our January business Zoom. If you have other questions, please reach out to us.
Is the BID going to offer store-to-store COVID testing again? It’s unlikely. It seems the program from City government that we partnered with on this has possibly abandoned it. We will send out information if testing becomes available.
Will the Test and Trace Corp come to my business and test my employees? No. This service is not offered.
Does the BID have masks for businesses? Yes! We also have sanitizer and cleaning wipes. Please reach out to us to get some for your business.
Can I/my employees get at-home testing? The City offers at-home testing for those 65+ or immunocompromised. It can be scheduled by calling 929-298-9400. Normally, you can request for an at-home rapid test to be mailed to you, but that program is on pause for the moment. Check here for updates.
What’s the best testing site? NYC Test and Trace Corps sites have the best results, usually under 24 hours. For an up-to-date list, click here. The closest to NoHo is at Union Square, 216 E 14th Street.
What are the current vaccine and mask rules? There’s a lot of rules, that we’ve broken down elsewhere. A link will be posted here when it is available.
- The number one suggestion we heard – bite the bullet and buy rapid tests to have on site. If an employee isn’t feeling well or finds out about an exposure to while at work, it’s key to minimize exposure to other employees. This will help prevent many of your staff getting sick at once.
- Scheduling flexibility is key. Staff getting exposed or getting sick, changing customer preferences and demand, and all the other instability that comes with a COVID spike make scheduling and staffing difficult, but flexibility is important to keep staff safe and minimize case spread at the workplace.
- Communicate to customers. Are your hours changing? Are you requiring masks again? Have you altered any protocols? Consistently and constantly communicate to your customers what’s new. This helps set expectations, minimize conflict, and helps ensure an easy visit.
- Reintroduce curbside and other customer-safety measures. We’ve heard from some retailers that curbside is once again booming. These kind of offerings are a nice way to reach out to customers who might not want to shop in-store right now. What worked for you in 2020 and last winter? Maybe it’s time to bring those services back.
- Be prepared to close. We are probably past this point for most businesses, as cases seem to be at or just-past peak in caseload. However, it’s critically important to make sure you know what you will do if you close unexpectedly. How will you secure your storefront? Store inventory? Halt deliveries? This webpage has a great checklist to run through.
- Get boosted and get your staff boosted! This is seriously the best thing you can do to protect your staff, customers, and business. Odds of transmission, severity of disease, and disruptions to your day-to-day are all minimized. It’s also great for customer comfort. Is everybody boosted? Make it known that you’re a safer environment. Find vaccine sites here.