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Battling COVID-19 Fatigue: It’s Time for Self-Storage Operators to Rearm

While we’re all suffering from COVID-19 fatigue, now’s not the time to relax. Self-storage operators need to arm themselves with information and take action.

I’d like to share with you a tale of two drive-thru experiences I recently had at local fast-food eateries. They happened on the same day (my daughter wanted food from one place while I opted for another) and were drastically different.

At the first drive-thru, there was no line. I placed my order then donned my mask as I approached the window. The employee opened the window and, to my surprise, had her mask down under her chin. She also wasn’t wearing gloves. I peeked inside and saw two other employees, also wearing masks below their mouths, which is completely ineffective. They were sans gloves as well. The woman took my debit card, swiped it and handed it back to me. As I drove away, I immediately sanitized my card and hands. This happened a day after most of the cities in my state mandated everyone wear masks in public.

My next experience was much more gratifying. The person at the drive-thru had on a mask and gloves, as did the people inside from what I could see. The employee produced a point-of-sale terminal so I could slip in my card; she never touched it. She put the bag containing the food on a tray and handed it to me out the window, so our hands never met. They took my safety seriously, while the other place couldn’t be bothered.

I get it. We all have COVID-19 fatigue. When the pandemic began, self-storage operators quickly pivoted their operations to protect staff and tenants. From new sanitation protocols to halting late fees and lien sales, facility operators have been proactive in the battle against COVID. While we’re all exhausted from the changes we’ve had to make, now’s not the time to pump the brakes on everything we’ve been doing to thwart this virus. We need to hit the gas because this fight is far from over.

More than 20 U.S. states have seen an increase in COVID cases in recent weeks as people have returned to work and social activities. Worldwide, nearly 9 million people have been infected and more than 468,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 2.3 million cases and 118,000 deaths have been reported in the United States. We’re nowhere near done with this pandemic and anyone who suggests otherwise is ill-informed or in denial. The only correct response anyone should have is following the rules clearly outlined by expert health organizations: Wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently and correctly.

We also need to stay informed as we learn more about the virus and how to protect ourselves and others. Of course, that’s another place where we’re all feeling fatigue. Who wants to read yet another COVID-19 article or watch more news about it? Yet we must if we want to keep ahead of the pandemic. ISS is helping every day by providing information to assist you in safeguarding yourself, staff and customers. But we also want your business to succeed even in these troubling times. Take a look at these amazing resources:

  • COVID-19 topic page: Consider it the hub where you’ll find articles, blogs, webinars, videos and even a digital issue. It’s your starting point.
  • COVID-19 digital issue: This free resource contains a collection of articles that focus on operational adjustments, contact-free methods, customer service and much more.
  • Self-Storage Talk: Whether you seek input, want to share how your storage business is handling the pandemic or just need to vent, SST is the place to connect with other industry professionals. It’s free to join.
  • Self-Storage TV: Find out how other operators are managing their sites during the pandemic and how you can provide a contact-free tenant experience.
  • Articles and blogs: You’ll find dozens of articles and blogs on our website addressing every aspect of how COVID-19 is affecting storage operations, development and investing. Get guidance on legal, management, staffing, marketing and more.

Wearing that mask could be annoying. And you’re probably tired of the constant cleaning and keeping up the social distancing. These weapons are just part of your arsenal against COVID-19. Stay informed. Stay safe.

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