Uh-oh! Hot clients in the parking lot? Check out our tips for beating the COVID-19 summer heat.

Uh-oh! Hot clients in the parking lot? Check out our tips for beating the COVID-19 summer heat.

As summer temperatures continue to rise across the state, some veterinary practices are wondering how to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission inside the practice while also keeping clients and patients out of hot cars in the parking lot. With the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment continuing to recommend veterinary practices maintain curbside services to minimize risk of virus transmission indoors, it’s up to practices to get creative with other solutions that keep pets and people safe amid rising temperatures.

Here are some tips CVMA has gathered to help beat the COVID-19 summer heat during curbside appointments.

  • Set up a pop-up tent or awning in your parking lot. Some clients may wish to wait for their pets instead of dropping them off and returning later for them. If your hospital parking lot does not have natural shade provided by trees or nearby buildings, a pop-up awning with water bowls may help keep your clients and patients shaded while they wait for service. If you don’t have a grassy area for clients to sit, consider adding plastic lawn chairs that can be disinfected and wiped down regularly.
  • Add misters to your parking lot. A little bit of a cool spritz can go a long way for both pets and people! Make sure water bowls are available for dogs in the parking lot as well.
  • Provide bottled water and other cool drinks for clients while they wait outside. Stock some cool drinks inside your hospital; when a client arrives for a drop-off appointment, provide a bottle of water or another drink of choice to keep them cool while they wait outside.
  • Post signs reminding clients and others that pets should not be left alone in cars. Temperatures inside cars can rise dramatically in a short amount of time. Make sure clients know they must stay with their pet until a member of your team comes to retrieve it for the appointment.
  • Provide tips with nearby trails, coffee shops, or other attractions for the client to visit while they wait. Let’s face it — waiting can be boring. For clients who might have a longer wait than others, share ideas with them on nearby attractions they can visit while they wait for their pet to be done. Remind them to take a water bottle with them if they will be outside in the heat!
  • Set clear expectations. Make sure the client knows how long you are expecting to be inside with their pet. This will help the client decide if they want to stay in their car with the AC running or go run errands while they wait.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Whether the client is waiting in the car or at home, ensure a member of the medical team is communicating with them via phone or text every step of the way. This is your opportunity for your practice to shine with exceptional customer service and communication!
  • Utilize video technology to help clients be “in the room” with you while they are outside waiting for their pet. Got an iPad or smartphone? You can set up a Zoom video account for free and connect your client to the room via video while they wait outside. Alternatively, you can also use FaceTime if both you and your client have Apple devices. Other service providers include PetPro Connect, PetPro Tele+, and Teletails.
  • Have treats available on hand. For pets that might be nervous about going inside the hospital without their owner, have a handful of high-value treats on hand to help coax them in. Check with the owner first to ensure the pet has no allergies.
  • Conduct touchless payment processing. After the appointment, use online payment processing or have the client pay over the phone.
  • If a client must enter the building…ensure they are wearing a mask and maintain six feet of distance whenever possible. This should only be done on a case-by-case basis.

We’re always on the hunt for brilliant ideas to share within the CVMA community. Have a tip you think we should add? Email it to us at [email protected].