Monday, March 16, 2020

Tip #330: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Guidance for Retail Confectioners

Small businesses are currently facing unprecedented operational challenges. Due to recent cancellations of major sporting events and festivals, school closures and more people working from home, there’s no doubt consumers are reluctant to leave their homes—let alone visit their favorite local businesses. Not only does COVID-19 (coronavirus) pose a threat to public health, it will have an unprecedented impact on small businesses and the economy.

What you can do now:
Keep reading as we review five steps you can take now, as business owners and operators, to protect your business, staff, customers and local communities based on recommendations by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other authoritative health and governmental agencies.
  •  Educate yourself and your team.
  •  Create a communication plan.
  •  Protect your business.
  •  Embrace new forms of commerce.
  •  Stay connected with fellow retail confectioners.

Educate yourself and your staff: Guidance for Businesses and Employers from CDC
As a leader of your business, it is crucial to obtain information about COVID-19 (coronavirus) from authoritative health and governmental agencies, such as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. Click here to view guidance from the CDC for employers to help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19. This guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, the CDC recommends using only the guidance provided on its COVID-19 web page to properly determine risk. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

Open communication with employees is key to educate and train your team on how to best prevent exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. See below for links to additional resources addressing common questions:

Create a communication plan
According to the Small Business Administration, “it’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your business.”

The U.S. Chamber has compiled a Coronavirus Response Kit for businesses and workers across the country, encouraging American businesses to follow data-based guidance from the CDC and state and local officials. See examples of how RCI members are communicating their new and ongoing protocols in their businesses below.

Protect your business: Guidance from SBA
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is working directly with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at: To view a full list of other local and national resources available through the Small Business Administration, visit their website.

Embrace new ways of commerce.
By providing creative and safe alternatives for consumers to continue to do business with you, may help alleviate some of the financial strain caused by current health concerns, while also helping to reduce the risk of exposure to you and your staff by consumers. Remind patrons that stocking up on a few sweet treats from their favorite, local candy shop may be just what they need to provide comfort and a constant during this time of uncertainty.

Many businesses are encouraging patrons to place orders online for home delivery and offering new grab-and-go options so customers don’t even have to leave the comforts of their vehicle. While others are encouraging consumers to support local businesses by purchasing gift cards. See below for examples of creative ways RCI members are embracing new forms of commerce to ensure business as (sort-of) usual goes on.

Stay connected.
For over 100 years, RCI has been a community for retail confectioners and their suppliers to connect with each other and learn from shared knowledge and experiences. If you have questions about what fellow retail confectioners are doing, we encourage you to subscribe RCI’s online forum, List Serve, to post questions and reply to others’ questions. We invite you to also follow RCI’s Facebook page for industry and association updates. As always, feel free to direct your questions to RCI staff at

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