WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Businesses large and small are using this down time to figure out how to adapt to the “new normal” once they’re allowed to reopen.

At a White Plains Hospital construction site, the marketing slogan “Explore the Future,” takes on deeper meaning during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The future is now, with hardhats and masks. There are signs promoting hand hygiene and dots on the ground to socially distance construction workers, as they queue up to have their temperatures checked at stations fitted with hard, clear plastic shields.

“So they are very, very well prepared and they’re thinking outside the box,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, the CEO of the Business Council of Westchester.

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Gordon said businesses of all kinds must adapt for the post-lockdown world.

“I think we will be returning to a society that looks different. We will be investing in hand sanitizing stations as people come in. I think they may expect to have temperatures taken as they come in.”


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Commercial real estate is being reimagined to promote social distancing. Open floor plans may give way to individual pods or offices. Small businesses are plotting their return, too.

Yuko Kuru opened the Play Space Cafe in Larchmont back in January with an eye on keeping things clean.

“I have to rethink my business model, try to figure out what I’m going to do once I can reopen. Every day we wash our toys in this commercial dishwasher,” Kuru said.

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Come reopening, she said she’ll double down on cleaning and is likely to institute a reservation system to control the crowd.

“Below 10 kids, so that we have enough space for them to run around and people can be distant,” Kuru said.

She said she’ll remove a table or two from the cafe for social distancing and may require parents to wear face masks.

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She also said she knows some small businesses won’t survive, but she’ll do what she can to reassure families and improve her odds.