10 Ways You Can (Calmly) Prepare for Coronavirus at Craft Shows

art/craft fairs covid 19 Mar 07, 2020

Note: This is not intended to be medical advice. If you are ill or have concerns for your symptoms, please seek medical treatment from a licensed medical professional. 

As we head into the spring 2020 show season, it seems that there may be an unwelcome attendee: COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of this virus include:

✓ fever

✓ cough

✓ shortness of breath

Which, not coincidentally, is also the list of symptoms for many other illnesses at this time of year. The quick spread of the illness and the lack of information has been like fuel to the fire of panic, and in many of the artist and art fair groups, there have been seemingly endless conversations contemplating the potential impact of the virus on handmade businesses (and commerce in general), whether or not shows will be cancelled, and what to do to stay safe if the show DOES go on.

There are a few easy, fairly common-sense things YOU can do to keep yourself and your customers at the minimal possible risk as the powers that be work to get the spread of this virus under control. 

  1. Wash your hands! The CDC says that handwashing is one of the best ways to protect you and others from getting sick. Using the 5 step protocol (wet - lather - scrub - rinse - dry) for a minimum of 20 seconds is a highly effective way to stop the spread of germs.
  2. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  3. If you are sick, stay home. **THIS** is important! So many artists and crafters will “push through” and go to a show if they are sick because they don’t want to miss out on the sales, but in the interest of public safety, PLEASE stay home if you are sick. 
  4. Cover your cough! Either cough into a tissue and dispose of it properly, or cough into your elbow. Be sure to wash or at least sanitize your hands afterwards.
  5. Keep your hands away from your face and out of your mouth. You touch SO MANY things during the day, and even more so when you are at a show. 
  6. Greet your customers with a smile and a wave...from a distance. Sorry, huggers: this is not your time to shine. Avoiding physical contact with others helps to reduce the spread of the virus. 
  7. That cash people are paying you with is, in a word, filthy. Keep a bit of alcohol-based sanitizer at your checkout (because you WILL have to handle cash) and be vigilant about not touching any food or drink until you have been able to properly wash your hands after touching money.
  8. Likewise, when you are accepting credit card payments, you are likely inviting the public to touch either your phone or your tablet. Keep contact to a minimum by offering a stylus for signatures (wipe it down often!), and if at all possible use a tablet instead of your phone (do you REALLY want the public touching the thing that you carry around with you all day and night?!). **
  9. Keep your snacks and drinks tightly covered and away from your customers. So far, there is no research showing that COVID-19 is spread by food...but it’s really never a good idea to have these things hanging out where the public can breathe/touch/cough on them.
  10.  Frequently wipe down surfaces/objects in your booth that are getting the most “touch traffic” (products, displays, stylus, pens, tables, etc). 

**note: AMEX, Discover, Visa, and Mastercard no longer require signature for purchase for chip-enabled cards. If you use a Square chip card reader (as many artists do), you can opt to turn off the signature requirement altogether. Be sure to read the fine print so you understand the details, terms, and risks of not requiring signature. **

Here are a few things you can add to your show packing list:

  • Alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Anti bacterial wet wipes  (for wiping surfaces)
  • Baby wipes or sanitizing hand wipes (for wiping your hands)
  • Tissues (use for covering cough, wiping your nose/face, etc)
  • Stylus for customer credit card signatures

At the end of the day, all you can really do is use common sense and do all of the things you are supposed to be doing anyway. Hand-washing and cough-covering aren’t new, but this most recent virus has us on our toes. Use it as an opportunity to create new healthy habits, and don’t let it keep you from going on with your business and your life.

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