For young entrepreneurs, running a business this summer still means being smart about Covid-19.
Pandemic-related safety precautions are something that Sofia Renals, a 16-year-old in Dunwoody, Georgia, is taking into account this year for her annual summer cooking camp hosted at her family's home. She loves to cook and has been teaching kids how to make homemade meals since she was 11 years old. Last year, she had to cancel her camp because of Covid-19 concerns.
"It was hard," she says. But this year, her camp is open for business. She'll charge $125 per student for four days of cooking a daily menu of an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. She's also making an effort to keep herself and her customers safe.
Typically, the kids share the meal they've prepared at the kitchen table each day. For a Covid-proof operation this year, she will require masks and open the floor-to-ceiling windows in her family's kitchen. She'll also give the cooks the option of taking their food out to the covered deck in the backyard if they or their parents prefer they eat outside.
Here are some steps you can take to stay safe this summer while running your business.
Wear a mask.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently loosened mask-wearing guidelines for vaccinated people, but the federal agency still recommends mask-wearing for those unvaccinated. The CDC says masks should completely cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of the face. Currently, vaccines are available for those 12 years old or older. If you're likely to have younger customers, it's a safe bet to wear face coverings to limit the spread of the virus.
Practice good hygiene.
Hand-washing and disinfecting your space can help germs from spreading. Make sure to wash your hands often, and offer hand sanitizer to customers. The CDC also recommends encouraging those who have symptoms or have been sick to stay at home. Communicate clearly with customers about potential illnesses or symptoms, and be prepared to offer a refund or reschedule any meetings to a later time if someone isn't feeling well.
Set up outside.
The CDC continues to recommend practicing social distancing and gathering outdoors when unvaccinated. Similar to Renals, consider moving any events or interactions outside or opening windows if staying inside is necessary. If you anticipate any lines for in-person purchases, put stickers on the ground or draw markings with chalk six feet apart to encourage customers to social distance.
Hang in there.
Havana Martin, the 8-year-old founder of The Dog Walkers Club in San Diego--a dog-walking business she started last year after being inspired by the children's book series The Baby-Sitters Club--says she's walking only dogs owned by family members this year, and she always wears her mask. But her best advice to others running a Covid-safe business?
"Be patient," she says, adding that once Covid-19 is no longer a concern, she believes many businesses will have more customers and an easier time growing.