It’s a challenge to keep your retail space sanitized during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail spaces must safely and effectively operate both to serve the public and to simply remain open. Yet, with COVID-19’s novel structure, no one really knows what to expect. That is why it seems as if the safety guidelines are ever-changing. The scientific community learns something new about COVID-19 almost every day, and what they learn often changes the opinions of professionals as well as laypersons on the best practices of cleaning and disinfecting retail space, social distancing, and other hygiene practices.
Contracting a professional cleaning company specializing in safely and effectively providing frequent disinfection of retail spaces may be necessary. We must recognize and address the unique challenges that come with this new challenging environment in retail settings. Considering the nature of most retail stores, using the provided guidelines can help protect shoppers and staff (which may also mean more dollars in the door, fewer days closed for additional sanitation if there is a positive case, and fewer sick staff members taking time off as well as putting others at risk). We’ll also discuss some of the requirements for cleaning and disinfecting retail spaces.
Why Is Frequent Cleaning and Disinfection Such a Challenge?
The short answer is, it’s a retail space with heavy foot traffic! To ensure a sanitized environment, you will need rotational cleaning that addresses the heavy quantity of touchpoints in your retail space. Cleaning staff will need to wear gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to remain safe. And, you’ll have to safely touchpoint disinfect around patrons and staff members. Continuing education and safety training will be necessary.
Of course, all employees should be educated and comply with the requirements to keep retail space sanitized. They should also have the needed equipment required to fulfill their duties, including surface management and cart sanitation. They should all be educated in the proper processes as well as be able to demonstrate them, wear gloves, have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), engage in the proper hygiene practices for their work area (including touchpoint disinfection), be able to engage in social distancing both with each other and with shoppers, and have the required products to sanitize their area.
The time that frequent cleaning and disinfection can take for existing employees, let alone engaging in deeper cleaning and sanitizing processes, can take up a significant portion of their day. Despite these challenges, below are some best practices.
Current Best Practices for Employees
All retail employees should be educated on:
· Hand Washing & Sanitizing. All retail locations should consider having both hand sanitizing stations and cart sanitizing stations at primary entrances. Both employees and patrons can be reminded of handwashing best practices according to CDC guidelines via strategically located signs.
· Self-checkout sanitizing process. Any employee who may work in a self-serve area, including self-checkout or any retail location where a customer may somehow take care of themselves, should be trained to rotational touchpoint sanitizing of these areas.
· Offer Patrons with preexisting medical conditions or older adults a dedicated time to shop or use an alternative shopping model. The goal is to make it easier for at-risk individuals to shop with the best possible social distancing precautions, again following CDC guidelines.
· Hand hygiene practices. Retail spaces should consider providing signs, handwashing procedures, and hand sanitation opportunities for both employees and shoppers. Hand hygiene practices are defined as washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after eating; after sneezing, coughing, or using a tissue; after a bathroom break; before touching food; after touching or cleaning a surface that could be contaminated; and after sharing any type of electronic equipment or supplies. Hand sanitizers should be selected based upon CDC and WHO guidelines.
· Coughs and sneezes should be covered with tissues or done into the inside of the elbow. Any used tissues should immediately be thrown away and the hands should be washed. This CDC page offers more detail: “How to Protect Yourself and Others”.
· Priority areas should be cleaned on an on–going basis. This includes high contact surfaces that are touched by lots of people, such as checkout areas, handrails, carts, equipment used to stock the facility, restrooms, etc.
Why Is It Essential to Keep Your Retail Space Sanitized?
If there’s no one watching, it can be tempting to consider cutting corners on disinfection and sanitation! Yet, working to keep COVID-19 and other bugs at bay at your retail space by continuously applying best practices is paramount. It acts as a risk management tool and can help protect your brand. Frequent and appropriate disinfection and sanitation is truly an investment in your business.
How Foreman Pro Cleaning Can Help Keep Your Retail Space Sanitized
As commercial cleaning specialists, Foreman Pro Cleaning can help your retail space identify not just priority areas, but also high-risk areas. We can help save your retail space staff time and overhead by developing a custom cleaning model that embraces best practices to help protect your shoppers and employees. We deliver high-quality professional disinfection for retail spaces. To learn more about what we can do for you, Contact Us today!