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COVID-19 Business Planning Checklist

Updated: Mar 18, 2020


If you have not instituted a business continuity plan, it is critical that businesses get a plan in place immediately. Below are some business continuity tips to assist you in your plan. Having a business continuity plan in place will ensure your company continues to function at a high level even in the worst scenario.

Continuity Planning

Identify staff members who can accurately assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, and who can identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Include emergency payroll, financial decision making and manual accounting systems to track and document costs in the event of an unexpected incident and assign each task to a member who will be responsible for that function for the duration of the event.

Establish procedures for succession of management. Practice worst case scenario planning—it is possible someone from your leadership team may become unavailable; plan for contingency if that person serves a critical role.

Decide which employees will be involved in your emergency plan. Include co-workers from all levels in your organization and use them as active members of the emergency team. Focus on employees with expertise vital to daily business functions.

Dealing with Clients and Service

If you don’t already have one, compile a list of your customers and establish a plan to serve them for the duration. Since it is impossible at this time to know long that will be, plan for at least four to six months and identify priorities for each.

Suppliers, Vendors, Contractors

Identify suppliers, vendors, contractors, banks and any other businesses you must interact with on a day-to-day basis. If any serve a critical role, consider developing a relationship with more than one company in case they are compromised and cannot service your needs. A disaster that shuts down a key supplier or vendor can be devastating to your business.

Quarantine and Premises

If any of your employees are identified as having even casual contact with anyone known to have Coronavirus, your facility may be involuntarily shut down.

Plan what you will do if your building, plant or office is not accessible. Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance. Talk with your staff and frequently review and practice what you intend to do during and after an emergency.

Communications and Emergency Planning for Employees

Your employees are your most valuable asset. Open lines of communication are essential before, during, and after any incident. Share emergency preparedness information and virus updates with employees through all communications tools.

Crisis Communication Plan

Detail how your organization plans to communicate with employees, local authorities, customers and others for the duration of the event. Give employees information on how you will communicate when and how to report to work following an emergency. Inform clients/customers if you anticipate delays in service (and communicate clearly how and when products will be received, or services rendered). Also communicate with local, state and federal authorities what emergency assistance is needed for you to continue essential business activity.

Travel – National and International

Travel within the US: Management should use common sense for employees planning any travel and verify meetings/conferences or events have not been canceled prior to leaving. This is a good resource for updates:

International travel: To determine how to handle international travel consult the Department of State Travel Advisory Levels chart and color-coded map and check with your airline. Travel Insurance: If you or your employees must travel, investigate travel insurance. Keep in mind that not all travel insurance covers pandemics. Policies that do cover pandemics may not be available after a known breakout.

Facilities, Buildings, Property and Insurance

Review your business insurance coverage and understand your deductibles, if applicable. Consider how you will pay creditors and employees. If you are the business owner or principal, you should also plan how you will provide for your own income. Determine who will be in charge of the premises in the event you need to close suddenly. Consider the ways in which people, products, supplies and other things enter your building or facility; make sure all entrances and exits are secure.

Business Recovery

The Trump Administration is reviewing actions to aid businesses in recovery to mitigate the impact and financial losses. The U.S. Small Business Administration is a great resource for businesses seeking assistance after an incident.

Note – Cyber criminals usually kick into high gear during a crisis, emergency or other event. Remind employees to stay vigilant and delete any unsolicited “COVID-19” updates they receive – and never open any attachments.


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