Napa Sonoma SBDCSanta Rosa and Napa, California

Requirements and Steps to Reopen: A Playbook for Businesses in Napa & Sonoma Counties

There are multiple resources to help with reopening your business. This includes any guidelines from your city (if applicable), your County, the state of California, and even federally from OSHA and the CDC. There are general guidelines and specific guidelines for your industry. This is a lot of information!

For this reason, we encourage you to sign up for our services, and an SBDC Advisor will help you with reopening your business.

In addition to these regulations, you need to consider the unique circumstances of your business, including the:

  • Current status of Covid-19 within the area you operate, including severity and volume of outbreaks currently.
  • Ability of your business to enforce proper social distancing (at least six feet) between individuals (including all customers and employees) within the business location.
  • Level of contact between customers and other employees in your business (e.g., beauty salons and gyms with direct physical contact vs. retail stores and restaurants with indirect contact).

Requirements for Reopening

In order to reopen, you need to ensure the following:

1. Your business industry/activity is approved to reopen. Check guidelines for what reopening (CA site; search by county and type of business).

2. You have a Social Distancing Protocol & COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan in place for your business.

3. Your business meets any other specific requirements for the industry and county it operates. For additional information:

Steps to Reopening

STEP 1: Know the Regulations - We suggest you start with the state's website for safe operations:
Also be familiar with county (and city, if applicable) guidelines for your industry, if applicable. Focus on the most reputable, reliable sources to find the right guidance for your business. View our Napa County or Sonoma County pages.

STEP 2: Create a Reopening Plan - Create your reopening plan will require a lot of internal and external assessment of multiple factors that could impact your success moving forward. As a business owner, your primary concern should be the health and safety of your employees and customers. Need help? Request help from an SBDC Advisor. Your plan should include:

  • General hygiene practices
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Social distancing
  • Employee health monitoring

STEP 3: Assess your business needs - You'll want to answer these four questions for the long-term health of your business:

  • What does your business need to survive? Many businesses will not be able to simply "pick up where they left off". You need to honestly assess your business situation. Do you need to better manage and plan your finances? To work on transitioning more of your business online?
  • Reassess your employee situation - Do you need to (re)hire employees? How will you let employees know that you will take their safety seriously when you reopen and prepare them for opening? What will be your staffing needs going forward?
  • Assess your customer base - What do their needs and demands look like now and in the foreseeable future? How Do you need to innovate your products and services to better meet immediate customer needs?
  • Do you need a new marketing plan? Assess your competitors and how they're handling marketing. Create an updated marketing strategy that reflects your customers' current needs. Successful marketing in the COVID-19 era means shying away from overly promotional messaging and speaking to the current reality and experiences your customers are facing.

STEP 4: Communicate! Communicate! - Your business will likely need to communicate plans to several different audiences, and each one requires a tailored approach to ensure the right message is received:

  • Employee communications - Your employee communication plan should provide thorough, accurate information about physical workplace changes and safety measures, as well as set appropriate expectations for following new procedures. Your plan can include email, chat, video, social media, physical displays in the workplace, etc.
  • Customer communications - Can you communicate your reopening with your customers? How can you motivate your customers to be motivated to come back?
  • Vendor/partner communications - Communicate with each of your vendors and partners to review your agreements and contracts. Salesforce recommends co-creating business continuity plans with your partners and suppliers to help both of you streamline operations. This includes communications with your landlord if you have a lease.


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As concerns continue about coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re here to help you navigate available resources, answer your business questions and be a trusted partner for your business
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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.