MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The post-COVID 19 “new normal” is here, and American businesses must focus on the health and safety of their customers and employees.
Everyone knows the drill – wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently… but even those steps may not be enough to break the chain of infection. As America reopens, businesses have to step up their game with regard to cleaning and disinfecting regularly, perhaps even multiple times per day.
“No one can guarantee an environment is infection free, but there are specific protocols that help ensure a higher level of safety,” said Peter Duncanson, director of commercial operations for ServiceMaster Restore and former chairman of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). “Businesses that are intentional about infection prevention provide a healthier, safer environment.”
Based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and cleaning industry experts, ServiceMaster has developed seven anti-virus practices to help ensure a healthy workplace.
- Daily deep cleaning
- High-touch disinfection
- Cleaning supplies and PPE
- Ventilation and sunshine
- Personal hygiene
- Social distancing
- Commitment and communication
Daily deep cleaning – Viruses like COVID-19 thrive on dirt, dust and grime. Clean your business thoroughly at least once per day, using the appropriate cleaning products to remove soils. Duncanson points out that treating surfaces for coronavirus requires highly specialized expertise. Professional cleaning teams rely on hospital-grade disinfectants to effectively treat surfaces and inactivate the virus.
High-touch disinfection – Any area in your business that is frequently touched should be cleaned multiple times a day. Make a list of these surfaces (light switches, door handles, handrails, chairs, countertops, coffee urns, etc.) and wipe them with a clean cloth and disinfecting solution.
“Technique and process is everything in disinfecting an area,” says Duncanson. “Clean in a systematic way. Start from high to low. Go from clean to dirty. Ensure that your cleaning team employs a process towards eliminating cross contamination and breaking a link in the chain of infection.”
Cleaning supplies and PPE – Disinfecting products and personal protective equipment may be difficult to find. “As an alternative, you can use a mixture of 1/3 cup of bleach in a gallon of water or a 70 percent mixture of alcohol and water,” adds Duncanson. “If you don’t have disposable gloves, frequently disinfect reusable rubber gloves.”
Ventilation and sunshine – Sunlight and air can have disinfecting properties. Wherever possible, open windows and expose surfaces and tools to bright sunlight.
Personal hygiene – It is essential for all employees to practice personal hygiene rigorously every day. Staff should wash hands thoroughly and often, wear a mask, cough or sneeze into a tissue and discard the tissue, use hand sanitizer and clean their area with disinfecting wipes or solutions. You know the drill; now practice it!
Social distancing – Maintain a safe distance between yourself and others at all times. In some cases, like hair salons, this is not possible. Personal services like hair, nails and massage require gloves, hand sanitizers, autoclaves to sterilize tools, disposable protective capes as well as strict adherence to personal hygiene for operators and customers.
Commitment and communication – Commitment starts at the top with the business owner or manager. Everyone at the business must be dedicated to preventing contamination.
“Businesses can reopen with relative safety if everyone follows CDC advice and is diligent about cleanliness,” said Duncanson.