After months and months (basically forever) of anxiously waiting, many business have been given the green light to reopen their doors — or at least a modified version of their business. But how do you ensure you keep customers and employees safe? That's where the screening questionnaire comes in.
Even though the “We’re Open” sign is hanging on the door, the threat of COVID-19 still very much exists. Everyone has a responsibility to minimize the spread.
The best way to do this is by educating yourself through research and learning about safety protocols. This means taking necessary precautions and being vigilant and proactive to ensure that you are catching avoidable issues before they become a full-blown disaster.
With COVID-19, there is no room for mistakes. Public safety, and your reputation, cannot afford it.
So, how can you keep everyone safe? One way is to create a mandatory screening questionnaire.
What is the COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire?
You’ve probably filled out a screening questionnaire and didn’t even know it. Tons of businesses that sell services have adopted this practice and began including them in their normal routine with customers.
And it’s because they work. From dentist to hair salons to contractors, small business owners that serve clients one-on-one use this questionnaire.
Essentially, it is a short survey containing questions about your customer’s health and travel history to ensure that it is safe for them to interact with you and enter your business — or for you to enter their homes. It takes just a few minutes and it helps keep you, your employees, and your customers safe.
First and foremost, you want to make the process easy and fast. No one wants to answer a laundry list of boring questions — especially when it’s unnecessary.
Be concise, straightforward, and right to the point. Don’t cut out important questions but at the same time don’t add in unnecessary ones either.
Using google, you can set up a quick survey (as long as you secure the data).
An important part of the process is to decide when and how you will ask the COVID-19 daily screening questions. When you’re thinking about your pre-screening questions, you should also consider who you are going to have to answer them.
Answering these questions now will help you know which kinds of questions to include or leave out later on.
Who Will Answer the COVID-19 Pre-Screening Questions?
Will you only ask customers? Or will you take more of an extensive approach and require employees to answer the questions as well before arriving at work? Answers here can vary.
It depends on the line of work you’re in. If your business requires you or your employees to enter customer’s homes or routinely interact with people, it’s a good idea to have both your employees and customers complete the questionnaire.
You can also modify the frequency you require your employees to answer the questionnaire. It could be once a week, bi-weekly, or whatever timeline makes the most sense for you.
Keep in mind that if you ask your employees who you see every day the same questions, it can start to feel unnecessarily tedious.
How Will Individuals Respond to the COVID-19 Pre-Screening Questions?
Next, you have to figure out how you want individuals to respond to your COVID-19 questions. You can have them report by answering live questions (via phone or in-person) or sending out a survey link (via text, app, or email).
Note that if you decide to do in-person questions, you will be required to set up a COVID- 19 screening question station.
You can choose a variety of different methods or even give your customers a choice and leave it up to them.
When Will You Send Out the Questionnaire?
The last step is deciding when you want individuals to respond to the questions. Are you sending it out a week in advance? Two days before the appointment? Or on the day of the immediately before the appointment?
Your response here will help determine what questions to include in the questionnaire.
Pro Tip: If you want to be extra cautious, you can create in-office and post-appointment screening questionnaires as well. All you have to do is create slight variations of your original pre-screening questionnaire and adjust it to fit the time you are asking the questions.
For example, for the in-office questionnaire, you are asking the customer the day of the appointment, so it should focus more on the present.
For the post-appointment questionnaire, it should be a follow up with the patient 2-3 days after appointment to check in and see if they have developed symptoms or have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Taking this approach will make you and your customers feel extra safe — a level of cautiousness everyone will appreciate.
Screening Questions You Should Ask
Okay, now it's question time! Be sure to communicate with customers prior to their appointment and let them know they are required to answer screening questions before using your business.
Once you notify them, you should ask them the following pre-appointment screening questions:
- Have you or anyone in your household had any of the following symptoms in the last 21 days: sore throat, cough, chills, body aches for unknown reasons, shortness of breath for unknown reasons, loss of smell, loss of taste, fever at or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit?
- Have you or anyone in your household been tested for COVID-19?
- Have you or anyone in your household traveled in the U.S. in the past 21 days? If so, where have you been and have you been self-quarantining upon your return?
- Have you or anyone in your household traveled outside the U.S. in the past 21 days? If so, where have you been and have you been self-quarantining upon your return?
- Are you or anyone in your household a health care provider or emergency responder?
- Have you or anyone in your household cared for an individual who is in quarantine or is a presumptive positive or has tested positive for COVID-19?
- Do you have any reason to believe you or anyone in your household has been exposed to or acquired COVID-19?
- To the best of your knowledge have you been in close proximity to any individual who tested positive for COVID-19?
As you can see, this is an extensive list of questions (we just want to cover all of the bases) so feel free to shorten, modify, and pick and choose from them to determine which questions work best for your business.
Not every question is going to make sense for you to ask so use your discretion and choose the ones that best suit you. Good luck!
Want to learn more about how to safely enter your customers' homes? We've put together a comprehensive checklist for you