As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your establishment is safe for your patrons and your employees. An outbreak is not something that you should take lightly. Reopening amidst the pandemic is a challenge and must be dealt with seriously.
The pandemic has affected every business differently. However, all will face the threat that the virus brings. From implementing new policies, disinfecting to deploying UV light air purification, here are some steps to help curb the risks of infection in your establishment.
Train your employees
To provide excellent customer service, your employees must know how to reduce the risks of infection. Train them on how to properly use their PPE's so that they can also orient your customers on how to wear theirs properly. If you have new policies in place, now is the perfect time to get them in line. Your employees must be equipped to protect themselves safe from the risks that the virus brings.
Install handwashing stations
If you own a restaurant or a cafe, it is a must that you install handwashing stations equipped with soap and paper towels. If handwashing stations are not possible, install hand sanitizer dispensers in high-traffic areas. They must be accessible and visible so your customers and employees will be encouraged to wash their hands as needed. Place hand sanitizer dispensers at the entrance and exit.
Require masks and other needed PPE
Require your customers and your employees to wear face masks before they enter the premises of your establishment. Face masks can help prevent people who unknowingly have the virus from passing it to others. The more people who wear masks in public settings, the better. Studies have shown that the viral load is at its highest before the symptoms show. This means that a person can be contagious even before he shows signs that he is infected. All he has to do is talk to expel infected droplets to infect others.
Practice safe social distancing
People in your establishment must be at least 6 feet from each other. You can limit the number of people that enter your establishment to make this possible. Rearrange the aisles if needed to make social distancing possible.
If you manage or own a restaurant, rearrange the tables if needed. Use single tables where only one customer can dine. You can also separate the take-out area to minimize the number of people getting inside.
If possible, encourage cashless transactions in your establishment. Paper bills have been handed around too many times. Even before the pandemic, cash is notorious for being a carrier of germs. The World Health Organization has not banned the use of paper money. However, it has stressed that you need to wash your hands after handling them.
Clean and disinfect the place
The first thing you need to do is to determine the areas of your establishment that need cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning involves washing with soap and water to wash off dirt and germs while disinfecting involves killing those germs. The virus that causes COVID-19 can stay on surfaces for hours. Clean and disinfect with EPA-approved disinfectants to reduce the risk of infections.
The more people that come into your establishment, the more you need to disinfect. Soft materials such as tablecloths, carpets, curtains, and rugs need to be laundered regularly to reduce risks of exposure. High traffic places such as the restrooms must also be cleaned and disinfected religiously.
Keep the air clean
According to the World Health Organization, one of the possible modes of transmission of the virus is airborne. This means that the virus can be spread through the dissemination of aerosols. These aerosols remain infectious while being in the air. You can consider installing a UV light air-purification system.
UV light is known to kill airborne microbes that transmit tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-1. SARS-CoV-1, as we all know, is a close relative of the new coronavirus. UV light systems also provide a permanent method of disinfecting your place. It is a worthy investment if you want to ensure the safety of your patrons and your workforce.
Maintain a healthy ventilation system
Having proper ventilation is an effective way to improve indoor air quality. Increasing air ventilation, along with appropriate handwashing practices and physical distancing, can help reduce the risks of infection in your establishment. Do the following to improve ventilation and to have good indoor air quality:
- Open the windows if possible.
- Open your HVAC's outside inflow of air.
- Open the bathroom fan continuously.
- Clean the air ducts.
The fight against COVID-19 is not an easy one. It will take a system of healthy and hygienic practices to reduce the risks and protect your business, your employees, and your customers.