Houston area businesses get advice on right approach as they prepare to open

HOUSTON – Two days and counting.

That is when phase one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen the Texas economy launches. People want to get out and buy -- businesses are ready to get back in action. A leader in the local business community has some words of advice for those establishments.

“Get ready, be ready, open safely and be prepared to protect the well-being of their employees and their customers,” Bob Harvey said.

Harvey is the president of the Greater Houston Partnership, an economic development organization that promotes business-friendly policies in the Houston area. Harvey said the partnership began discussions with businesses about reopening several weeks ago when infection rates began to slowly trend downward.

In addition to creating safe environments for customers, Harvey said businesses also need to be understanding with sick leave so workers, in desperate need of a paycheck, don’t feel pressured to stay at work and put others at risk.

“You have to remove the disincentives for that employee telling you that they’re experiencing symptoms,” Harvey said. “If they’re going to lose their pay if they go home, they’re probably not going to be as quick to tell you.”

And what about the future?

Harvey said businesses have had to alter and change their models to stay afloat over the past few weeks. He predicts many of those changes are here to stay.

“We need to remember all of the lessons we’ve learned to manage something like this,” Harvey said. “I think we’ve done it well in Houston, we took advantage of the fact that we weren’t the first major city to experience this.”

Harvey said customers can also expect some changes. Some may be asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their health or have their temperatures taken before being allowed into an establishment.

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