In towns and cities up and down the country, laundrettes have long been at the heart of local communities. Yet despite being classed as essential services throughout the COVID pandemic, they are not immune to the financial challenges faced by fellow high street occupants.
During the initial lockdown phase, many chose to shut up shop and take advantage of the furlough support under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. But as restrictions began to lift, these businesses tentatively started to re-open their doors, albeit under strict guidelines and often reduced opening hours to minimise overheads.
At the time of writing, further local lockdown restrictions are being applied, but for many customers who don’t have access to washing machines at home, laundrettes offer vital washing facilities.
The National Association of the Launderette Industryi (NALI) sets out advice on how to run a laundry business safely, along with government guidance to protect staff and communities. This advice includes disinfecting machines and surface areas as frequently as possible - ideally after every customer-use; using anti-bacterial products together with disposable paper and gloves, and then discarding safely; and removing unnecessary items that customers may touch, such as magazines. Service-washes that are processed should be washed at the highest temperature possible.
For customers who are self-isolating as a precaution and do not have COVID symptoms, NALI suggests considering offering a collection and delivery service with payment taken over the telephone or online.
Signs should be displayed informing customers of the rules designed to keep them safe: compulsory mask-wearing, minimal contact with equipment during visits and no entry if they have tested positive or are displaying symptoms of COVID.
Protecting Your Business and Your Staff
With these new restrictions, having the right laundrette insurance cover in place to protect your staff and your business is as important now as it’s always been.
Despite the additional, stringent precautions, accidents can still occur. Should the unthinkable happen and someone is injured on your premises, employers' liability insurance offers peace of mind. And if you employ staff, you are legally required to have this cover in place.
Cover for Historical Incidents
Hard as it is to imagine at the moment, at some point, we will return to a way of living we used to refer to as normal. If you are presented with a claim when we’re back to ‘business as usual’, professional indemnity cover will protect you. But your cover needs to have been in place at the time of the event to provide protection.
Business Interruption and Property Protection
With more lockdowns being enforced and proposed, if you do have to close your laundrette business, there are conditions for unoccupied properties, so do check your property insurance policy wording. You may need to inform your insurer that the premises will be empty for longer than normal.
COVID is not the only threat faced by laundrettes, fire, flooding and vandalism all present risks and may force you to close at some point in the future. Business interruption insurance will compensate you for income lost when you have had to suspend normal operations. This is generally because of physical damage to its property or a civil order requiring the business or its property to close, but COVID has seen a global surge in SMEs from all industries seeking compensation for business interruption and property insurance only covers physical damage to your property. So, look at the wording in your business interruption policy and speak to your insurer if you have any questions.
Costs That Won’t Get You in a Lather
At smei, we could save you over 20% on the price of your insuranceii and due to our various payment options available, you can choose to spread to the cost over the course of the year. That way, you know you are protected, and exactly how you will manage your protection over the year ahead, regardless of how uncertain things may seem right now.
Smei has years of extensive knowledge protecting laundrettes and dry cleaners like yours. To find out more about the covers we can provide, call us on 0330 134 4564 or visit our dedicated dry cleaners and laundrette insurance page.
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