COVID-19: 7 Things "Essential" Businesses NEED to Do

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COVID-19 and Coronavirus are words I wish I never knew, nor ever heard of. We are in unprecedented times, both as a country and as an industry.

We are an “essential” industry in the U.S., with an essential workforce providing products and services for over 5.5 million residential inground pools, 2.5 million aboveground pools, over 1 million hot tubs and the millions of water features and commercial bodies of water at shopping centers, health clubs, hotels and apartment complexes. Safe and healthy water is something that I have been committed to during my 30-year tenure in the pool and spa industry.

Many of us who were around during the Great Recession witnessed what happens when bodies of stagnant water are left unkept and untreated. This is why we are essential — not only to keep the water healthy, but to ensure that these bodies of water don’t make people sick from something other than Coronavirus. 

While it would be easy to stay at home and ride this out, people need us. They need our expertise and our products. It is vital that our retailers remain open and that you continue to service and maintain the bodies of water that you do. 

For our retailers: Keeping your store open is vital, but it also requires you to adapt to the current situation. Depending on the size of your location, the product offering, local mandates and your geography, here are some of my recommendations for adapting your business to the current COVID-19 climate:


One of the first things that you should do immediately is hang signage in the windows or on the exterior of your store stating that you are “open.” Highlight that, while it is business as usual for our essential industry, social distancing in your retail store is being practiced.

Offer Curbside Pickup

Giving the customer the freedom to order essential pool and spa needs without having to go inside your store is critical during this time. Market the ways they can order from you (call, text, email, website, etc…). Let customers know you’ll meet them at the curb wearing the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for a load and go!

Drive-Up or Drive-Thru Water Analysis 

Set up a tent in your parking lot to offer drive-up or drive-thru service for water testing, cleaner tune-ups or item pickup. This will both help your business and cater toward consumer needs during this time. This does not have to be an elaborate setup — it could be as easy as a 10-by-10 tent that you bought for Sunday tailgates, or a tent you’d use for kids’ sporting events. Add signage to the top and sides promoting your business and this service.

Inside Social Distancing

If you have a store that is allowing customers to come in, make sure to limit the amount of people in your store (CDC says 10 people at a time) and ensure that you are using good social distancing practices. Maintain a distance of six feet apart, and make sure to wear your PPE. To lighten the mood, be yourself, play music and maybe even write your name on the outside of the mask with a smiley face. Have plenty of hand sanitizer for consumers to use, both at the register and near the exit.

Free Delivery

If the customer is not comfortable driving up, driving thru or even leaving their own home, offer a curbside or backyard drop-off — whichever you or the customer is comfortable with. While you're there, offer them a free water test or pool inspection.


Continue to market and advertise your business and services. This is typically the first item that most businesses cut, but it really should be the last. You need to let the consumers know you’re here for them, and that you have everything they need for a staycation in their backyards. Be it a new pool, hot tub, fire pit, water feature or outdoor kitchen, consumers are expected to spend not only more time in their backyard but also more money upgrading it.


You don’t need to have an official physical presence to sell your products or services. Most sources are expecting consumers to invest more money into their backyards during their forced staycations, so be ready. Doing virtual sales calls via Facetime, Skype or Zoom with your prospective clients will be essential. You can also have your consumer use technology tools like the NPT Backyard App that lets them see what a pool would look like in their backyard via AR technology, right from their smartphone or tablet.

It is all of our jobs to make sure the safety and security of our employees and customers is paramount. Having the appropriate PPE on hand, washing hands and sanitizing work spaces, doors and counters several times per hour is a must. Ensure you and your employees stay home if they do not feel well or are showing signs of sickness or COVID-19 symptoms. We will all get through this together. Be calm, be safe and be prepared.

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