Who Needs Signage During the Coronavirus/Covid-19 Shut-Down?
There are many businesses classified as Essential Businesses that need to continue operations during the Coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic. Many of these businesses require signs to help advertise, inform and direct customers, employees, patients and visitors. This is why Sign Shops are an Essential Business. Without sign shops open, it is difficult to create attractive, durable signs that are needed during this time. Some examples of Essential Businesses that need signs are:
- Hospitals, Walk-In Clinics, Veterinary Hospitals, Funeral Homes
- Nursing Homes and Rehab Facilities
- Grocery Stores and Warehouse Facilities
- Take Out Restaurants and Hotels
- Medical Supply, Pharmaceutical, and other Manufacturing Facilities
- Essential Services and Stores such as Pharmacies, Laundromats, Homeless Shelters, Food Banks, Gas Stations, Hardware Stores,
- Banks, Financial Establishments
- Municipalities, Utility Companies, Commercial Shipping, Seaports, Schools
- Property Management Companies
- Essential Trades such as cleaning companies, construction, plumbers, electricians, repair crews, road crews.
- Not to mentioned temporary hospitals and facilities for dealing with the Covid-19 response.
Why are Signs and Sign Companies Considered Essential?
Without well thought out, effective signage, it would be difficult communicate during this situation. Clear and concise signage is needed to help inform the public of what is and isn’t open, to enforce social distancing and to help direct people to where they need to go. This makes the sign industry an Essential business during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Hospitals and medical facilities need signage to let patients know where to register, who can and cannot enter a facility, and when they can enter a facility. Medical staff need signage to help direct them to equipment, medical supplies and other specific items needed during a crisis.
- Stores, restaurants and businesses need floor graphics for social distancing, signs to advertise hours and special hours for seniors, limits on number of people allowed in a store or facility and more. Informational signs are critical for curb-side pickup instructions ensure traffic flow works well.
- Manufacturing facilities need signs to inform employees of requirements such as social distancing requirements, cleaning work areas, where to find hand sanitizer, masks and more.
- Construction sites need signs for closing roads and access to work areas. They also need instructional signs for those working to ensure they understand social distancing and OSHA work requirements during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Municipalities need signage to direct the public on school closings, road detours, park closures and more. Informational signs also are helpful to inform the public how to contact Public Health officials and others who are needed during the crisis.
- Truckers and tradesmen need their DOT Numbers and License information on their vehicles as a DOT requirement.
- Car repair shops need to inform customers if they are open and instructions for no-contact drop off and pickup of their vehicles for service.
- Property Management companies need to inform tenants and delivery companies about package delivery procedures, mail handling, social distancing within buildings and more.
There are endless other situations where clear and concise signs prevent accidents, increase consumer awareness, inform the public, and direct people where to go and what to do. This need for information does not stop during a crisis and in fact is needed more than ever to make sure that people stay healthy and follow regulations and instructions and stay safe. As such, sign companies are essential for assisting customers with effective signs during this pandemic.
How can a Sign Company operate successfully while maintaining social distancing?
Being an essential business such as a sign company means that a lot of thought needs to go into planning how to keep your business open while keeping employees and customers safe. In order to safely provide needed services and manufactured needed products, sign companies must follow social distancing guidelines provided by the government and health officials. Maintaining a No-Customer-Contact policy by getting order information by phone, fax, email is necessary.
There are many software applications to allow sign companies to conference with their clients to see a visible area or facility in need of signs, review designs and provide consultation. Using Zoom, or FaceTime, we can meet with clients, tour a facility or see a sign repair situation without putting any one in harm’s way.
Imposed photos allow us to show the client what the sign will look like in place and can provide scaled images to ensure signs are readable or visible.
Installations can be done in empty, clean buildings. Exterior installations can often be done without contact with the client. If more than one employee is required on an installation, maintaining social distance, wearing protective gloves and masks and following hand sanitizing and washing procedures is imperative.
At Express Sign & Graphics, we have been researching air filtering systems for our building, creating scheduled cleanings for work areas, spacing staff out, working remotely, staggering schedules and sending employees home as soon as they have completed their tasks to ensure the safety of our employees.
We have worked with our vendors for no-contact product deliveries, eliminating signing for packages and using gloves and masks when getting and opening the mail. We also have vehicles dropped off and keys put in a key drop for vehicle lettering to maintain a no-contact policy.
What are other necessary reasons for Sign Companies being essential?
In Massachusetts, it has been deemed necessary to continue with home building due to a housing shortage. Our governor feels that it is important for the future of our state to continue with these projects. Additionally, municipal projects, schools and other necessary infrastructure work is continuing. Many of these projects require both interior and exterior as well as Parking and MUTCD signage to be completed for completion and inspections. Again, as an essential business, sign companies must be available to help with these projects.
With a complete construction shut-down in Boston, it has become impossible for us to complete projects for clients in and around the City, however, we can do some work that is needed in certain locations.
What can a sign provider and other service and manufacturing companies do to stay busy and improve their operations during the Covid-19 situation?
- It is important that during this crisis, those of us who have been awarded PPP money bring back their employees. The mental health of our workforce is in play and many workers are discouraged or depressed about the loss of their jobs.
- Although many have benefited from the additional $600/week of unemployment, this is a short-term solution and does not provide long-term income and job security. Employers who put their employees back on the payroll with these funds allow the employees to feel secure in knowing their jobs will be there when this is over.
- Now is a great time to have employees work on OSHA certification, offer training in color-management, software training, sales, project management, job safety and other areas to ensure that your staff is ready to roll when things get back to normal.
- It’s also a great time to re-visit procedures, investigate new software offerings and learn about ways to improve your business. There are most likely plenty of software and service sales personnel working from home who would love to show you their products. Many sign applications offer 7 or 30 day free trials that allow you to try them out and see if they would be a good investment for your business.
- It’s also a good time to clean your showroom, manufacturing area, or store, update your product samples, reletter your vehicle or letter your vehicle, clean up your website, improve your SEO and write a marketing plan!
- Or, if you are like many whose bookkeeping records were not in good shape to apply for the PPP funding and were scrambling, get an accounting software program online and up to date.
- We are looking at the downtime as an opportunity to learn more about our customers and their needs, improve our business and groom our employees to be the best they can be. Hopefully we along with the many other small businesses in our area and around this country come out on the other side of the debacle better, faster and more ready to excel. We look forward to continuing our relationships with the hundreds of clients we work with every day. We hope and pray for our country to have a speedy and strong recovery and for our friends, family, and business associates to stay safe and healthy.
We are here for you making the essential signs you need to keep your business, city or organization moving forward. If you need truck, ambulance or vehicle lettering, A-Frame or Yard Signs, Banners or Parking Signs, informational signs for your students, employees, emergency staff workers and others, we can get the job done.
Ann Durso, CEO of Express Sign & Graphics, Inc. has been working in the sign industry since 2000. Her experience includes all facets of sign design, manufacturing and installation. In addition, Ann previously owned Advanced Accounting & Administrative Solutions which provided small business owners with assistance in all areas of their business including; accounting, administration, marketing and organization.[/author_info] [/author]