For the past several months, people across the country have been sheltering at home to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is no surprise that many consumers are now nervous about rejoining their communities and reentering public spaces. A recent nationally recognized survey reported 89% of consumers were hesitant about visiting a brick-and-mortar business and 40% cited cleanliness as a top concern.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the definition of clean. As the country slowly begins to reopen, local professional cleaning specialist Chris Christodoulides from SERVPRO of Niagara County notes four things people should look for when they reenter their community to help ensure they are stepping into a healthy environment.
•Look for “signs” of clean: When you first walk into a building, you should immediately take inventory of whether the space has been cleaned recently. A clean space should be free of visible dirt and trash. Fingerprints on doors and windows or stains on countertops and tables may indicate a relaxed attitude toward cleaning. High-touch surfaces should be disinfected regularly. Oftentimes, one can smell a freshly cleaned facility. Standalone sanitation stations are a good sign that preventing the spread of germs is a priority. One may notice physical signage stating when the space was last cleaned, who is servicing the facility, or details of a regular cleaning regimen. Many businesses are also hanging signage to remind guests and employees of proper social distancing standards.
•What adjustments have staff made?: Everyone has a responsibility to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The staff of retail businesses, restaurants or community centers should be properly trained in CDC-approved cleaning methods. If employees are not using proper techniques or products, it might be because of a lack of proper training. Likewise, look for staff who are wearing gloves and masks and who are practicing safe distancing when interacting with customers. It is obvious when the business is not protecting its employees. People should not come before profits.
•What adjustments has the business made to the physical space?: Many businesses and facilities have made physical changes to their buildings to help reduce the risk of spreading illness. The business may adjust the traffic flow of patrons to prevent congested areas. Contactless points-of-sale are becoming more common, and many businesses are constructing barriers between employees and guests. Some are even adding markers on floors to indicate safe distances. One good way to help prevent the spread of infection is to reduce the number of touch points, such as propping doors open and opening windows to increase airflow. Some businesses are going a step further and reducing the number of guests allowed inside the space at one time.
•Does it look like “business as usual?”: In the same way the country changed following 9/11, what was once known as “normal” may change forever. If a facility is still operating in the way it did before the coronavirus pandemic, there is a good chance the managers or staff are not taking the illness seriously or are not prioritizing the health of their employees and guests. Many have reduced their hours of operation or offered times when they are open only for at-risk individuals, such as senior citizens or those who are immune-compromised. Before visiting, check the company’s social media pages or their website for communications about their hours and the steps they are taking to protect patrons. These locations should be following federal, state and local mandates with regard to safety.
Christodoulides said reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
“We see it as our duty – not our job – to inspire confidence with consumers and employees by helping ensure businesses are ‘Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned’,” Christodoulides explained. “Whether it is an office building, restaurant, retail space, event center, school, daycare, or any other location, we’re here to help – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – in the communities we call home. …
“Just because a company is the expert in their business doesn’t mean they are experts in clean. We are trained and experienced – our business is ‘clean.’ If a facility has the ‘Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned’ seal, you can rest assured it has been taken to ‘a higher level of clean.’ ”
“Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA-approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO-certified cleaning experience. Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.
SERVPRO specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Niagara County, contact Christodoulides at [email protected]. For more information on the “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program, visit www.servpro.com.
Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO franchise system is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multimillion-dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the U.S. and Canada, the SERVPRO system has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.