As more non-essential businesses reopen in Northeast and Central Wisconsin, it has been a new experience for employees and their customers wanting to buy and sell merchandise curbside.
“With the Turn the Dial guidance from the Governor’s office many of our chamber members can conduct business,” said Jayme Sellen, vice president of Economic Development & Government Affairs at Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce. “They’re all adjusting as quickly as they can to capture commerce again.”
Since Friday, April 24, Gov. Tony Evers and his administration has allowed all businesses to offer curbside pick-up. Customers must purchase goods online or over the phone from a local store and then get them at the location without going inside the building. On Wednesday, April 29, the emergency order by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services expanded to include curbside drop-off, deliveries and mailings of products. Additionally, this setup applies to services such as dog grooming, where owners can drop-off and pick-up their pet at the front door of the business.
“Social distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, washing hands frequently, and proper cleaning at curbside – from both employees and customers – are key to keeping everyone safe while handing off goods and pets,” said Be Safe Wisconsin partner Mary Dorn, health officer and deputy director at Outagamie County Health and Human Services.
Other companies allowed to reopen with curbside options, or expanded curbside services, include arts and crafts stores for the sale of material to make face masks; upholstery businesses; and outdoor recreational rentals, such as boats, kayaks and ATVs.
Evers Administration officials say they want to start to “turn the dial” in support of small businesses across the state. The slow switching on of the economy is designed to keep customers safe by either keeping them at home with deliveries or limiting their exposure to stores with curbside pick-ups and drop-offs.
According to the order signed by Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the measure “reduces restrictions on certain businesses or sectors in a manner that is anticipated to have a minimal impact on the state’s ability to make progress towards its core responsibilities and meet its gating criteria (outlined by the federal government based on COVID-19 related symptoms, number of cases reported, and hospital capacity).” Here are some additional stipulations:
- Customers are not permitted in the business or facility.
- The business may not require a signature by the customer.
- Drop-offs and pick-ups must be scheduled ahead of time to ensure compliance with Social Distancing Requirements.
- Staff within the business or facility must be limited to one person in a room or confined space at a time, including a car or truck.
Wisconsin-based, third-generation family-owned Heid Music is one business adjusting well. “We have received great guidance from the state, the chamber and industry leaders through webinars on best practices,” said the husband-wife owners, Todd and DeDe Heid.
The music store, which has locations throughout Wisconsin (in Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Stevens Point and Madison), has been operating online since the safer-at-home order went into effect, shipping orders to music teachers and students for their educational needs. As the business expands to the curbside option, overall, its customer response has been positive.
“We’re learning as we go – from our employees and customers – on how best to serve everyone. We want to keep the human connection without being in the same space,” the Heids added. Through this process, the Heids are working diligently to add more products to their website and servicing customers via phone, text, email and social media chats. Currently, the business has a 1-2-3 approach for curbside orders.
- Order online, select curbside at checkout and your preferred location for pick-up.
- Receive a notification of your order and a second notification when it is ready for pick-up.
- Call or text upon arrival with your order number and car description and then pop your trunk.
Armed with face masks, gloves and disinfectant, employees are enabled to handle, prepare and deliver merchandise to customers’ vehicles curbside. “We are listening to team members each day to see how we can improve safety, processes, the customer experience and support them better,” the Heids noted.
A couple more takeaways from Be Safe Wisconsin public health partners on curbside pickup:
- If you are feeling sick, stay home and contact your healthcare provider.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. It will help prevent you from getting sick.
Public libraries also offer curbside pick-up for books and other materials such as DVDs.
The curbside pick-up is in effect while the stay-at-home order is in place. That order is currently in effect until May 26. All these moves are being taken to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and save lives in Wisconsin.