Tool Kit for Reopening

Toolkit for Reopening

The COVID-19 outbreak has us, in the tourism and hospitality industry, reexamining our industry’s safety measures. As locals and visitors express the desire to get out of their homes and back into your business, it’s important to be prepared to welcome guests safely and to ensure you, your employees, and your customers are safe.

The three things that have consistently been drilled into our heads and will continue to be important are the following practices;

  • Hand washing
  • Social (or Physical) Distancing
  • Personal Protective Equipment

Each business will need to address how it will meet the needs of their customers and incorporate these practices. How will you incorporate these practices when you reopen?  Please give careful thought to how you reopen and what measures you put in place to keep yourself, your staff, customers, and visitors safe when they return to your business.

For example, each of the following kinds of businesses will be different:

  • Restaurants, how will you space tables to avoid crowding?
  • Entertainment venues, how many guests can you allow in your establishment at a time?
  • Hotels, how will you reassure guests their rooms are clean and safe?


Planning to Reopen: Best Practices 

Here are ways you can help minimize your risks:

  • Develop a Written Plan 
    • Writing a plan can show that you have thought through risks in advance. A plan can also convey that you care about your customers, staff, and others.
  • Follow Your Plan 
    • Plans that sit on a shelf and don’t get followed are worthless. Make sure you’re following your plan. It’s one thing to say you don’t want your employees to come to work if they are sick. It’s another thing to follow through with it.
  • Communicate the plan to your employees  
    • Meet with your staff and talk about the new procedures
    • Explain the importance of the new procedures
    • Allow staff to ask questions to make sure they understand it fully
    • Rehearse proper cleaning techniques with staff members
  • Communicate what you’re doing to prepare for reopening to customers. This can go a long way in reassuring them that it is safe to return.
    • Use your social media or email newsletters to show what you’re doing (videos of you or staff cleaning; show photos of staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment
    • Develop signage to reinforce the new rules – this will remind customers as well as employees

IDPH reopening Guidance by Iowa Department of Public Health

Industry Resources

Hotel and Lodging Resources  
Q&A from the American Hotel & Lodging Association by Cozen O’Connor – Questions and answers for the hotel industry for planning and return to occupancy.

Hospitality for Hope Initiative by American Hotel & Lodging Association – View the collaboration between the hotel industry and the local, state, and federal governments. Also, on this page is a Hospital Conversion Playbook for hoteliers.

Hotel Emergency Toolkit by The Growth Works – Use this hotel emergency toolkit to better navigate the crisis and look for ways to support your local community, develop team members, and ultimately prepare for recovery.

Restaurant Industry Blueprint for Recovery by National Restaurant Association – Learn more about a target relief plan for your restaurant.

Iowa Restaurant Reopening Criteria

Blue Water Grill Comeback Plan & Template by Texas Restaurant Association – Review a comeback business plan and template.

Restaurant Reopening Guide by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Best Practices Retail Food Stores & Restaurants by U.S. Food & Drug Administration – Healthy best practices for restaurants and employees.


Retail Ready Resource by Iowa State Extension and Outreach

Golf Courses 
Park & Play Program by NGCOA – Review coronavirus protocols for open golf courses.

Farmers Markets 

Guidance for Iowa’s Farmers markets by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Consumer Guide to Buying from Local Farmers by Purdue University – How to engage with your local farmers/farmers markets amid the pandemic.