Keeping Your Business Safe and Financially Sound During the COVID-19 Crisis

In these unprecedented times, businesses are in flux. Some are shuttered; many keep limited hours. State, County, and City guidelines for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis are fluid, and the exact nature and timeline of Federal assistance is still unknown.

Here are some things you can do to help maintain your business’s safety and financial health in the interim.

 

Keeping your property and business safe

The health and safety of downtown Tucson is the DTP’s #1 priority. We work closely with the Tucson Police Department (TPD) to ensure that your properties remain safe during these unprecedented times.

SHORT-TERM FIXES

Use the following safety checklist if your business operations are closed during this time to ensure that your shop or restaurant remains secure:

  • Keep the lights on 
  • Do not leave any valuables clearly visible or accessible
  • Empty all safes, tills, and ATMs and move them off-site for safe storage
  • Remove ALL cash and receipts
  • Consider posting “NO TRESPASSING” signage and filling out a TPD Trespass Letter of Consent
  • Remove all alcohol products from the bar and put them in secured storage areas, with no alcohol left visible from outside
  • Disable access to your public WiFi network
  • Deactivate all scheduled FOB door openings (e.g., dry cleaning and other nonessential deliveries you may have forgotten)
  • Make regular site visits to monitor your shop/business and manage inventory and storage conditions. Consider randomizing the times this is done to avoid establishing a detectable pattern

LONG-TERM STRATEGIES

The TPD encourages all property owners to follow the guidelines established through Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

Recognized worldwide for its proven strategies to deter crime and increase safety, CPTED is based on the simple idea that the physical environment affects crime and the perception of safety. The design or re-design of an environment has been proven to reduce crime opportunities.

If you can afford it, this is a good time to implement some of the following long-term strategies to help keep your property safe:

  • LIGHT IT Replace all light fixtures with “dark skies” fixtures and install LED lighting. These fixtures eliminate glare and shadows that make it easy for trespassers to hide. LED lighting allows true colors to be seen at night — and lowers your electricity bills. 
  • RECORD IT Surveillance is your 24/7 witness to help law enforcement catch criminals. Invest in quality surveillance with remote viewing. Place cameras inside and outside the facility. 
  • SCREEN IT Attractive screens maintain privacy and deter graffiti. Unwanted activity cannot go unnoticed.
  • ROCK IT Landscape rocks, such as river rock, deter long-term loitering or resting. 
  • LOCK IT Keep your doors, gates, and all access points to your property locked when empty. Keep your dumpsters locked and inside enclosures. Unlocked dumpsters invite “recyclers” onto your property and invite unwanted activity. 
  • BLOCK IT Block roll-up doors with vehicles or heavy equipment to prevent break-ins at night. 
  • TRIM IT Eliminate hiding areas and open the line of sight to increase natural surveillance. Use the 2’/6’ rule for landscaping: Trim branches 6 feet from the ground, and cut all bushes to 2 feet in height.

 

Keeping your customers informed – and engaged

Uncertainty makes for frustrated customers who might not return to your business in better times. Here’s a checklist to follow to keep your customers up-to-date on your status:

  • Did you update your new store hours:
    •  On your windows and/or doors?
    •  On your website?
    •  On Google?
    •  On your Facebook page?
    •  On your Instagram account?
    •  On your Twitter page?
    •  On Yelp?
    •  On any other platform you can think of?
  • Have you displayed information on your storefront that encourages customers to follow good hygiene practices to keep the community safe?  A printable flyer from the CDC is available for download in English and Spanish.
  • Have you displayed information on the steps you are taking as a business to maintain a clean and safe environment within your store?
  • Are you posting regular social media updates to inform customers of your status, what you’re currently offering and how they can help your business?
  • Have you updated your website to inform customers of your status, what you’re currently offering and how they can help your business?
  • In addition, consider information and marketing strategies like selling gift cards online, creating a temporary website or webpage, or creating email campaigns with the help of platforms such as SquareUp.

Resources for small businesses

Marketing

Downtown Businesses: Update the status of your Business with DTP

Download the Prevent the Spread infographic for your website, email communications and social media

Download the Prevent the Spread infographic sized for your Instagram Stories

COX Media | Ask the Experts webinar series

Facebook for Business: Business Resource Hub

Yelp: COVID-19 Response and Support for Local Businesses

Startup Tucson: Startup Market – Add Your Product or Service

Financial

Tucson Metro Chamber: COVID-19 News and Resources

City of Tucson, Office of Economic Initiatives: Connect Tucson COVID-19 Resources | Small Business Hotline at (520) 837-4100

Business Development Finance Corporation & City of Tucson | Tucson Resiliency Loan

Community Investment Corporation (CIC): COVID-19 Response

U.S. Small Business Administration Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Rio Nuevo District: Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Process Assistance

U.S. Chamber: Coronavirus resource page

Local First Arizona: Committed to Arizona Businesses resources

Facebook: Small Business Grants Program

GoFundMe: Small Business Relief Initiative and Fund

Arts Foundation for Tucson & Southern Arizona: Pivot Grant to fund artistic projects or programming which have been adapted to alternative methods of sharing (i.e. virtual, digital, socially distant)

Safe Workplaces

DTP & TPD: Keeping Your Business Safe and Financially Sound During the COVID-19 Crisis

CDC’s Guidelines on Keeping Schools, Workplaces & Community Locations Clean

OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

U.S. Department of Labor | Wages, Hours and Leave: