A ‘Between Waves’ Planner for Small Businesses

Even with our best efforts, additional waves of COVID-19 may occur somewhere around the globe before a vaccine creates herd immunity. The first indication of a more significant health issue may be evidenced by geographically limited outbreaks among close contacts. Or there could be sizeable outbreaks in once “safe” communities, either abroad or in the U.S.

This is the time to put all your “between waves” planning into action.

While your business operations may not yet be suspended or closed, it’s time to prepare for the possibility that health officials or the governor may take steps to limit or close non-essential businesses and limit the activities of essential ones for a second time. This is the time to act, no react.


  • Activate your Business Continuity Coordinator or crisis team.
  • Execute the Inter-Pandemic Plan you developed above while maintaining enough flexibility to address the situation as it evolves.
  • Plan for increased absenteeism rates of up to 30 to 40% in advance of a second wave; consider cross-training employees in critical functions.
  • Allow first teams of remote workers to telecommute as soon as the evolving conditions dictate. Prepare second and third levels of staff for this eventuality in the coming days or weeks.
  • Have remote-enabled staff take their laptop, mobile devices and work home with them each night so that they can work remotely with little to no notice.
  • Institute appropriate screening of employees and isolation of staff or visitors who show signs of infection.
  • Inform suppliers and customers that you are suspending/closing operations, depending on the order.
  • Inform employees and activate any planned alternative business models.
  • Notify employees who are vacation, sick leave or PTO that you are ceasing operations on a specific date and time.
  • Arrange for alternate delivery schedules/destinations based on your plan.
  • Clean all facilities thoroughly before ceasing operations, especially communal spaces such as eating areas, counters, breakrooms and restrooms.
  • If you are shifting to online fulfillment, takeout, curbside service or another alternate business model, inform your customers via your email list and social media channels.
  • Inform staff members who are out of state or country to return home and self-quarantine per CDC and state guidelines.
  • Close and secure facilities according to your Business Continuity Plan.