If you've been venturing back out into the world in recent weeks and months, you've probably noticed an outdoorsy trend. Mindful of COVID-19 health and safety recommendations, businesses are increasingly taking their businesses to the streets. Why is this? Well, moving operations outdoors means better air circulation along with easier social distancing, allowing businesses to continue serving customers without expensive retrofits or profit-killing limitations on capacity. Let's take a look at some of the creative ways businesses are making the shift from inside to out.
Art All Over the Place
With galleries closed and performances on pause, cultural institutions are doing it tough these days. However, enterprising public and private organizations are having a blast shifting their exhibitions and shows outdoors. Featuring curated art and collaborations from local organizations, the Outside Art Project in London's Kings Cross brings free art to Londoners all summer long. Closer to home, El Paseo in Palm Desert, California, offers a street-long art walk featuring sculptures and pieces from the many local art galleries who call the street home. In New York, galleries and museums are selectively offering outdoor-only components of their programming, such as history tours, outdoor video screenings, and limited-entry observation deck viewing sessions.
Take Back The Streets
Due to occupancy restrictions, restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops have had to slash their indoor dining offerings in favor of to-go service or outdoor seating. Fortunately, local neighborhoods and cities have responded by closing down popular dining and entertainment streets to vehicular traffic, allowing dining establishments to increase their outdoor occupancy and their profit margins. Leading the way is foodie capital Portland, Oregon, which has created numerous outdoor dining plazas to help its local businesses stay afloat.
A Place to Park Your Business
Eateries may be taking their business to the streets, but other brands are taking theirs to the humble parking lot. With parking lots now largely empty, health and fitness businesses are shifting their equipment outside and putting their customers through their paces between those familiar white lines. It may feel a little weird to work out in front of the world, but it's a much more effective approach to fitness than a virtual training session. It's not just gyms that are taking advantage of parking lots: massage parlors, nail salons, and hairdressers are moving their chairs outside and doing what they can in their new makeshift space.
Up to the Roof, We Go
In denser areas, outdoors isn't always an option, but upstairs is! Cities like New York are seeing a boom in rooftop reclamations as businesses and creatives head up and out to keep working from the safety of outdoors. Artists are working from the roof, white-collar workers are setting up their laptops and taking advantage of strong wifi signals, and cafes and restaurants are doing business from kiosks and carts.
Let's Pop Up A Tent
But what about inclement weather? Businesses have that figured out as well. Marquee tents are a new favorite for outdoor vendors working in the sun or rain. Even schools are doing most of their learning from under the shelter and shade of a tent. It's not quite the same as classroom learning, but the improved ventilation and option for social distancing makes life easier for teachers and students alike.
What to Know When Working Outside
If you're planning on moving your operations outdoors, remember that it's not a free-for-all: there are typically strict guidelines and regulations in place. Here's what to know:
- Get permits. Before you head outside, check that you have the appropriate permits and approvals in place. The city or an attorney can help.
- Use sanitizer stations. Place stations with hand sanitizer and extra masks around your place of business.
- Maintain social distancing. Use markers on the ground, keep tables small, and adhere to occupancy limits. Masks are a must.
- Use contactless payment. Skip the cash and try contactless methods instead.
- Avoid staff gatherings. Don't let staff gather in large groups before or after work. Establish a maximum group size and stick to it.
- Train and educate your employees. Make sure your workers understand safe working guidelines and adhere to them.
Does your business need more space than your current premises can provide during these COVID-19 times? For guidance on how to do more with your current space, get in touch. At StellaPop, we're always happy to offer advice and suggestions to help your business thrive.