The novel coronavirus pandemic demonstrated just how rapidly millions of people across the globe can be infected. While close person-to-person contact helped spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus, multiple other factors played a role, including inadequate cleaning of surfaces, a lack of hand hygiene, sick people traveling and interacting with others and slow responses by country governments.
The virus can live for days on certain surfaces, making thorough and frequent cleaning with the right chemicals, tools and equipment an essential part of preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Organizations must now meet new standards for public health practices, including a new standard of cleanliness to make customers and workers confident in the safety of their facilities.
Cleaning And Disinfecting Comes To The Forefront
Before the pandemic, cleaning was necessary, but wasn’t always viewed as essential for saving lives. Now faced with a highly contagious virus, businesses are scrambling to adjust to a new standard of hygiene. For example, some retailers and foodservice organizations announced they would clean and/or disinfect certain frequently touched surfaces every 30 minutes, while others implemented occupancy limits or shifted entirely to curbside pick-up and delivery rather than allowing customers indoors.
As more businesses reopen and encourage people to visit their facilities, a clear and different approach to cleanliness is required. Gone are the days of “good enough” and simply cleaning for appearance. Employees and customers now demand more.
Putting Everyone At Ease
Steps organizations can take to make customers and employees feel safer include:
- Providing alcohol-based hand rub – Hand hygiene is extremely important for curbing the spread of pathogens. While handwashing typically occurs within restrooms, facilities can promote hand hygiene throughout a facility by installing hand sanitizer dispensers. These may be freestanding stations or attached to walls near entrances, elevators, self-checkout registers and restrooms.
- Using hospital-grade disinfectants – Choose disinfectants that are safe for workers and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against SARS-CoV-2. Look for disinfectants that have short contact times to ensure germs are killed.
- Making cleaning more visible – Cleaning while customers are present demonstrates an organization’s commitment to cleanliness and safety. While the practice of day cleaning is not new, it is more prevalent now that businesses are cleaning more frequently. Make sure that employees use the proper products, tools and processes, as facility occupants will be even more vigilant about observing cleaning and disinfecting.
- Giving guests control over disinfecting – Making disinfecting wipes readily available provides guests an even greater sense that your organization is doing its best to keep people healthy. Install stations in dining rooms and areas where shopping carts and grocery baskets reside so customers have control over the cleanliness of the items they touch. To reduce the risk of irritating skin and eyes, choose safe disinfectant wipes that are gentle on people and surfaces, but tough on pathogens.
- Communicating cleaning efforts – Customers and employees want to feel safe. Develop a thorough internal communications plan, notifying workers of new cleaning measures. Educate customers on your disinfecting strategies. Do so using e-newsletters, social media updates and signage. When employees understand your approach, they can also confidently communicate it to customers. Be sure to promote that you are using recommended and safe products and highlight cleaning frequency.
A New Normal Emerges
This pandemic has created widespread awareness about the role of cleaning in preventing the spread of infections. At a time when people are fearful to enter facilities and interact with others in close quarters, businesses must adopt new methods of cleaning. The visible process of cleaning instills confidence while removing invisible pathogens. Implementing the above recommendations will demonstrate to customers and employees that their health and safety is a top priority.
Diversey can help you create the safest environment for your associates and customers. Contact Diversey at 1-800-668-7171 or speak with your Diversey representative regarding proper cleaning and disinfecting products and procedures.