Shutting down is just close the doors….
Everyone go home…
Restarting isn’t THAT easy….
There still is a virus out there….
Might be less…
But it has be dealt with….
Companies in a handful of states have begun taking tentative steps to reopen stores, offices and factories that were closed by the coronavirus. Yet as the first employees and customers return, interviews with roughly 30 major employers show that businesses are confronting deep uncertainty, and many say it is simply too soon to come back.
Across the country, businesses are confronting a patchwork set of regulations that vary from state to state, and industry to industry. Government officials are sending mixed messages about who should open. The thousands of companies that never shut down — like pharmacies, grocery stores and auto repair shops — are using different techniques to promote social distancing and ensure good hygiene. And some businesses that could be getting back to work are declining to do so, fearful that reopening too soon could fuel a new wave of infections and lead to another round of closings.
“Shutting down was hard, but opening up is going to be harder,” said Rich Lesser, chief executive of the Boston Consulting Group. “This is the multi-trillion dollar question.”
Governors in states like South Carolina and Georgia have encouraged businesses to reopen in recent days. Dick’s Sporting Goods, which had shut all its locations around the country, reopened its 12 stores in South Carolina last week.
But others, both large and small, were more cautious. Coca-Cola, an influential mainstay of Atlanta’s business community, said last week that most of its office workers would continue to work remotely for the time being. Life Time, a chain of gyms that had planned to open its six locations in Georgia on Friday, reversed course.
“I can’t risk the health of the members at the risk of the community for the sake of them pumping some iron,” Bahram Akradi, Life Time’s chief executive, said.
But in Tennessee, which is loosening restrictions, Volkswagen has called 3,800 employees back to work at its plant in Chattanooga starting May 3 after spending weeks putting new health and safety measures in place, making the company one of the first major automakers to restart manufacturing since much of the industry shut down.
And in Washington State, Boeing reopened a factory that had closed after several workers fell ill with the virus. About 27,000 Boeing employees returned to their jobs last week, working in staggered shifts in facilities outfitted with hand washing stations, cleaning supplies and signs and floor markings reminding them to keep their distance from one another. Some employees were being asked to submit to voluntary temperature checks, and those who need it will be provided with protective gear….