- Vaccines have proven to be highly useful tools in helping to manage the virus.
- Estimates of lost working hours globally during the second quarter of 2020 equate to about 195 million full-time jobs.
- Though markets for public health necessities like PPE have grown during the pandemic, others have suffered.
Since the outbreak at the end of 2019, the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the way we conduct business all over the world. Now, vaccines are making their way through the populace.
With estimations that vaccines could mean economic recovery by late 2021/early 2022, the full-blown effects of the virus on the economy may have already been seen. The vaccine might reverse some of this damage to have its own impact on global trade.
In this article, we’ll explore this impact, as well as the ways businesses should prepare for reopening while ensuring the safety of their workers.
How the Vaccines are Impacting Businesses
Vaccines have proven to be highly useful tools in helping to manage the virus. In fact, vaccines immediately play a role in eliminating the spread — though not completely. The implications of enough people receiving a vaccine mean that businesses can restore full functionality to their processes and facilities.
Estimates of lost working hours globally during the second quarter of 2020 equate to about 195 million full-time jobs. These losses came as businesses shut their doors or laid off staff to accommodate federal and local regulations and maintain the safety of their workers.
Though markets for public health necessities like PPE have grown during the pandemic, others have suffered. In many instances, businesses were devastated beyond the point of recovery. Almost 100,000 businesses that had to temporarily shut down have now gone out of business entirely, and that only accounts for a portion of the aftermath still to be felt.
Fortunately, however, since July 2020, at least 86% of surveyed small businesses were still operating on a full or partial basis. Vaccines mean the potential to boost these numbers even higher, restoring full-functionality to more businesses, and creating new jobs. This is the reason the stock market experienced a rally at the very prospect of widespread vaccine roll-out.
The prospects of the U.S. economy improved even further with an analysis from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECP) after the vaccination of 60 million Americans. This analysis bumped projected growth for 2021 from 3.2% to 6.5%, putting world trade on a course for faster recovery.
Now, with a majority of Americans planning to get the vaccine, market prospects are only going up. Businesses can look forward to fully reopening, while the hardest-hit demographics and sectors of the economy can feel safe returning to a vaccinated workforce.
But first, businesses have to address questions and challenges as they prepare to reopen.
How Businesses Should Prepare for Reopening
The coronavirus has caused millions of deaths around the world, initiated a widespread shift to remote work, and even created new trends in email marketing. Facing such rapid change, it can be difficult to know how to move forward.
However, one thing is certain: the world won’t be the same again even after herd immunity against COVID-19 is achieved. For businesses, this means addressing the issues of a post-COVID workplace that will linger even with access to a vaccine.
For one, employers will have to consider whether to mandate that employees get the vaccine. While this is federally legal to do, enforcing a vaccine mandate may lead to pushback to a number of employees for all kinds of reasons. Avoiding complications will require thoughtful consideration of every circumstance and input from professional legal counsel.
Then, businesses must prepare for other changes brought by the post-COVID world. These might include any or all of the following:
- Financial resources and liquidity. Many businesses will find themselves in a tight spot in the aftermath of COVID. Build back financial safety nets by exploring loan options and cost-saving measures.
- New customer behaviors. The pandemic increased our use of tech and services like food delivery. Explore how changing behaviors impact your business processes.
- Supply chains. Global trade issues throughout the pandemic caused many companies to localize their supply chains. Consider where changes might help your business thrive.
These are just a few of the many considerations waiting for businesses as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine. With its help, we can reopen businesses, offices, schools, and opportunities for the vast majority of people. However, precautions should still be taken while we wait to reach herd immunity.
These precautions, of course, include following the CDC’s guidelines for businesses. Implement social distancing and sanitization practices wherever possible to best reduce the spread as you work out the logistics of your vaccine policy. Every business can encourage workers to get the vaccine, even if they do not mandate it.
Additionally, you can even look for ways to cut reopening costs with homemade cleaners and disinfectants. Vinegar and baking soda might just do for your cleaning budget what the vaccine will do for the global economy.
The Power of a Vaccine
While we may not be fully out of the woods with COVID-19 just yet, the vaccine has the power to restore the economy to more normal standards of functioning. This means returning jobs, new opportunities, and revitalized business processes.
If you are planning on reopening a business, consider the legal and resource challenges of the post-COVID industry. And, if you haven’t already, make an effort to get your COVID-19 vaccine.
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