While some US states are allowing certain businesses that had been closed due to COVID-19 to reopen, each organization should make its own decision on the right time and way to open its doors. For some, reopening may seem like the only way to support employees and the bottom line, despite the risk of the coronavirus still circulating. Businesses considering reopening should carefully consider cleaning and disinfecting procedures, access to handwashing essentials and appropriate physical distancing measures.
A Delicate Process
In many facilities, including gyms, offices and restaurants, physical proximity is the norm – making the reopening process a precarious one during a pandemic. However, by following the below best practices, businesses can reduce the risk of customers and employees becoming sick.
- Uninterrupted Cleaning and Disinfecting:
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the crucial role of cleaning and disinfecting in slowing the transmission of infectious pathogens. Unfortunately, it has led to many businesses struggling to source essential supplies due to an increased demand for cleaning. To mitigate supply chain disruptions, they can produce their own effective cleaner and disinfectant on site and on demand. This on-site generation system allows businesses to increase the volume of solution as needed in order to clean more frequently. Cleaning more regularly is necessary when reopening, as both customers and employees will have a new, higher standard of cleanliness.
- Comprehensive Hand Hygiene:
Newly reopened businesses should ensure they have plenty of hand soap, as well as signage posted in restrooms that encourages patrons and employees to scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. In addition, stocking paper towels is preferable for hand-drying, because the added friction from wiping hands dry can help remove more germs. Finally, place hand sanitizer stations, ideally touch-free and with at least 60% alcohol, in high traffic areas throughout the building. Hands will touch surfaces; there is no avoiding that. However, by providing easy access to hand hygiene essentials that keep hands clean, businesses can reduce the spread of disease.
- Reasonable Distancing Measures:
Establishing rules to keep occupants physically separated can also help reduce the risk of transmission. Businesses can consider recommending a double-pronged approach to distancing, which includes maintaining extra space between individuals and controlling building capacities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping 6 feet between people whenever possible. Businesses can implement safeguards like plexiglass around registers and floor markings to indicate 6 feet of space. They can also instate rules limiting capacity – for instance, restaurants can place a cap on the number of tables filled at one time.
A New Standard
Businesses opening their doors after a hiatus will face the challenges of a new world created by the coronavirus. Customers and employees are now more sensitive to cleanliness, and will want facilities to provide access to hand hygiene essentials and implement social distancing measures. Businesses should prioritize these three risk-reducing strategies to make everyone feel more at ease.