Downtown Business Owners,
 
As Central New York continues to meet New York State benchmarks for a phased re-opening, business owners must consider an additional factor in their re-opening plans:  Consumer confidence .
 
After two months of socially distant shopping, dining, and socializing, consumer behavior has changed. What was once a quick trip to the store now becomes a series of decisions weighing personal comfort and safety with consumer convenience and choice. Even as businesses are beginning to reopen, customers are still adjusting to “a new normal” of how to interact in public.
 
What can businesses do to cultivate consumer confidence?
 
The number one tool at your disposal is communication with your customers. While all businesses (essential and non-essential) must complete and submit a  Business Safety Plan to New York State before reopening, the state does not communicate these safety protocols to your customers.  It’s up to  you  to reassure your customers by communicating your safety plans directly to them.
 
How can businesses communicate their safety plans to customers?
 
The easiest way to provide insights into your new protocols is to  post photos and updates  to social media and customer email lists.  Show and tell  your customers the steps you’re taking to keep them safe.
For example, as downtown hair studio Salon Amare prepares to reopen, its staff has shared re-opening procedures and protocols on its Facebook page:
Knowing what to expect – from customer and staff behavior – makes everyone more comfortable in advance.
Similarly, downtown restaurant The Hops Spot posted a photo of shiny, clean hardwood floors in preparation for welcoming customers back, showing staff’s dedication to a clean and safe dining experience:
And, The Brine Well Eatery demonstrated its commitment to customer safety by walking customers through cleaning products and procedures:
Customers will be more confident coming to your storefront, gym, office, or restaurant when they (1) can see and understand the steps you’re taking to make them safe, and (2) can understand behavioral expectations (e.g. wear a mask, pay over the phone) in advance.
For more guidance on re-opening,   check out the resources below:
 
  • Register to participate in a free roundtable discussion with Melissa Fleischut, president & CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, on June 1, from 2pm – 3pm. Learn about regulatory updates, plus tips and best practices as restaurants prepare to re-open.


  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released guidance, including mitigation strategies businesses can take to slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • NY State has released a new tool to (1) help business owners determine whether or not their business is eligible to reopen, and (2) understand the public health and safety standards with which their business must comply. Before re-opening your business, be sure to affirm the New York detailed guidelines for your industry and print your business safety plan template here.

  • The Onondaga County Office of Economic Development has a new hotline to answer questions about reopening. Call 315-435-2210 or email reopen@ongov.net with questions.
 
As you share your re-opening preparations online, be sure to tag the Downtown Committee (on Facebook @Downtown Syracuse, on Twitter @downtownSYR and on Instagram @downtownsyracuse) so we can help spread the word. Keep us posted on your plans and send any business questions our way by emailing mail@downtownsyracuse.com .