While we are eager to open businesses after COVID-19 state-mandated closures, it is important companies do not overlook proper precautions when it comes to disinfecting and sanitizing. An estimated 80% of all infections are transmitted by hand contact with contaminated surfaces. Retail environments host a multitude of surfaces where illness-causing germs can linger, increasing the risk of transmission to the next employee or customer who touches them. To proactively keep customers and employees safe, retail businesses should focus on these high touch point areas:
The typical restroom is host to E. coli and other waste-related toxins on every surface. Even the use of high-speed hand dryers has been a cause of concern, as some studies show these devices blow germs around the area. Users who do not use proper handwashing routines easily spread bacteria from the restroom to other areas of the retail space, such as displays, demo products, and checkout counters.
Employee break rooms
Sponges, sink drains, faucet handles, and refrigerator handles are often key transfer points for germs. Employees might be rushed and are inclined to skip handwashing, further spreading germs. Keep your store safe by encouraging employees to practice hand-hygiene etiquette, disinfect counter tops and tables, and not to share utensils or cups. Dishwashers provide the most hygienic cleaning, so use it instead of handwashing, if you can.
Door handles and elevator buttons
Elevator buttons are germ hot spots, some holding as many as 149,000 colony-forming units per square inch. For clothing retailers, changing room door handles are also sources of cross-contamination and quickly accumulate germs throughout the day. These high-touch surfaces should be cleaned frequently.
With an average of 25,000 germs per square inch, telephones can transfer bacteria to both the hands and mouth. In many retail settings, germ transfer is compounded by the shared use of a primary phone. Sanitizing telephones should frequently occur, focusing on the mouthpiece, headset, and keypad. Technology is sensitive, so follow proper precautions when cleaning devices to prevent damage.
Cash register areas
Both the employee register system and the customer payment terminal can contain harmful bacteria and a prime area for germ transmission. The best ways to minimize the exposure to germs are frequent hand sanitizing (or even better, hand washing), periodically wiping surfaces with disinfectant, and thorough cleaning and disinfection after store closing.
Focusing on hygienic cleaning for the entire retail space can remove dirt and germs more effectively. Hygienic cleaning is proven to reduce health risks through the correct use of hospital-grade disinfectants to kill harmful organisms. Color-coded microfiber textiles for surface cleaning reduces cross-contamination during hygienic cleaning. Specific colors are designated for use in only certain areas of the facility, making an organized and efficient system. Another essential tool is the use of multi-filtration, HEPA backpack vacuums, which are 70% more efficient than traditional push vacuums. They also improve indoor air quality by filtering dust, dirt, germs, and allergens down to 0.3 microns.
Retail businesses should consider outsourcing their janitorial services to companies who offer hygienic and scientifically proven cleaning program. They are trained in the most advanced, science-based cleaning methods and can provide retailers with superior results.
Utilizing a qualified, hygienic cleaning provider, combined with better-regulated employee practices and the introduction of a store-wide hand hygiene program, can significantly reduce the risk of illness for employees and customers. A cleaner and healthier store environment provide employees with a greater sense of pride, while also providing customers with an optimal shopping experience, even during the challenging times of COVD-19.