After a couple of false starts into reopening main streets in North American cities, the current lock down status raises the stakes for the most vulnerable of businesses once again.
By Craig Stark and the Safe Space Solutions Team
The unilateral application of lock downs and curfews was necessary in the first phase back in March of 2020, since there was not a lot known about our common adversary- COVID19.
The systematic reopening of businesses was predicated on several risk mitigation steps and protocols based on scientific facts, localized data and also interpretations by local policies. In many cases, these interpretations were arguably politicized and in some cases, went against scientific and medical advice. (citizens reacted accordingly bad to weakened directives)
As a result we saw a predictable/ anticipated “flattening of the curve” during the warm months and a fear that the second wave would hit in the fall. By November, we faced a second phase of graduated restrictions and eventually by December, full lock downs and many putting curfews in place.
Businesses that went above and beyond using the latest COVID-19 guidelines and technologies were still forced to close in the latest shutdown orders.
The blanket closures of businesses does not reward those who invested in their space’s safety.
Governments are anxious to fund upgrades in business continuity with programs like the Digital Divide, Digital Main street and funds to purchase PPE. These initiatives make sense, but are purely tactical in terms of the investment grade resilience required by most businesses to not only reopen safely, but to be able to prove compliance and their ability to sustain this status.
Ideally, a strategic approach to providing a sector by sector, objective requirement and roadmap plan would provide a clear path for all businesses to reopen. With this level of certainty and provable compliance, waves of rolling shutdowns and biased inclusions would be prevented now and into the future. (see image below for details)
The largest economic driver in terms of capital to reopen cities is allocated to Tourism. A lot of the money will be spent on marketing to reopen these high impact districts, which include the hotels, conference centers and restaurants.
We are seeing that the industry councils have searched for a way to present these locations as “Safe to return”, with travel industry partnership programs like “Travel Safe”. A checklist and cursory approval begets the location a door decal and logo for their digital footprint and inclusion in the global directory to drive awareness/ traffic.
On the surface, this is a great answer to a big problem and should theoretically help. However, it’s effectiveness is very subjective and by current standards, does not meet any known certification criteria.
That said, there are no globally recognized “Safe Space” certifications which are broad enough and comprehensive enough to provide a standardized self certification program.
Developing a self certification requires that the process be:
- Open and Transparent (no proprietary access to data)
- Utilize recognized /evolving benchmarks (600ppm CO2 benchmark in IAQ for example)
- Public access to validation through dashboards and audit process
By adding monitoring and communications layers of response and recovery protocols, we could extend the value of a self certification to meet all established and future risk mitigation and actions as a change management system.
This can allow for perceptively high risk businesses like restaurants and gyms to achieve and maintain a “green light” with data and irrefutable performance KPI’s.
The following is a reference to show the model in design. We have developed the assessment framework to achieve these results and enduring conditions and have included the use of vetted technologies to help quickly roll out a program.
If your region or municipality is interested in how to design your own self certification program to kick start your local economic development plans, we’d be glad to arrange a discovery call with you.