Whether the doors to your building have been closed or you’ve been operating at a limited capacity due to the impact of the coronavirus, it’s critical you take certain measures at your facility prior to re-opening to the public. With 24/7 updates on the virus and government regulations rapidly changing, distinguishing where to begin is especially difficult. No matter how you plan to reopen, it’s important to keep safety top of mind.
Following coronavirus, customers expect businesses to do all they can to help minimize the impact of pathogens within their buildings. To reopen with confidence, consider these key safety strategies.
Take Time to Prepare
Before making any reopening decisions, be sure to take the time to consider what tenants and employees need and how your building plays a part in keeping them safe.
- Do your research. Take time to research reopening trends and regulations within your industry. While stopping the spread of germs is an inevitable expectation, recognizing what employees and tenants specifically anticipate when they enter your facility will help you shape your plan around their needs.
- Analyze your existing protocols and practices. Before re-inventing the set-up of your building, take the time to consider what aspects of your existing layout still work. Preparing to reopen may be as simple as moving furniture or barriers and adding signage that helps patrons follow social distancing guidelines.
Help Stop the Spread of Pathogens
Your tenants and employees expect cleanliness. But before you put on your rubber gloves and grab the disinfectant wipes, consider these tips:
- Understand the terminology. Processes like “cleaning,” “sanitizing,” and “disinfecting” have very different definitions. Understand the difference to know which efforts are necessary and their level of effectiveness.
- Cleaning washes some surface germs down the drain, lowering the risk of spreading infection and viruses but not killing germs.
- Sanitizing reduces the number of germs on a surface. While more effective than cleaning at removing germs, sanitizing does not eliminate 100 percent of germs.
- Disinfecting kills almost all strains of bacteria, fungi, and viruses on both surfaces and objects through the use of active ingredients when applied at the correct strength in accordance with the product label.
- Read product labels. For the most effective and safest results, pay attention to the toxicity levels of a product. It’s best to use a powerful, low-toxicity disinfectant to kill bacteria and pathogens that may be living on surfaces. To help narrow down your product choices even further, ensure the disinfectant used is included on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “List N,” which includes products that currently meet the their criteria for use against SARs-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the novel coronavirus or COVID-19).
- Keep it clean. Remind your employees and tenants to continue their typical preventative measures, like proper sanitation techniques. Consider investing in visits from a professional cleaning and/or disinfectant service for additional reassurance.
Deter the Threat of Pests
As your reopening to-do list may grow, don’t forget to address pest prevention in addition to cleaning and disinfecting services. Pest problems are not only the last thing your building needs but also are a health risk for employees and guests. Here’s what to consider:
- Examine your exterior. It’s important to look for potential entry points and pest attractants. For instance, note any areas of overgrown trees or shrubbery touching your building, as they provide shelter and paths for pests. Look for any large cracks or gaps in the building’s facade and be sure windows and doors seal properly to keep pests out.
- Check potential hotspots. Pest hotspots are anywhere that provides access to the essentials: food, water, and shelter. For food, check common areas and be sure to practice proper waste management. Check for any signs of pest activity surrounding drains and plumbing, as moisture is a pest attractant. And to be sure pests aren’t hiding in any hard-to-reach places, scan each area of your building with the lights off using a flashlight.
- Involve a team. The more eyes you have looking for pests and potential attractants, the more likely you’ll be able to stop a problem before it grows into a reputation-damaging infestation. Ask employees to look through desks, lockers, and personal drawers that have been untouched during the pandemic – they may find evidence of pests or damage. Your expert provider can help take care of pest problems that may have emerged while you were closed and offer tips to help prevent further pest issues. Ask your provider about ways to identify warning signs related to certain common pests, such as cockroaches, rodents, and bed bugs.
As you prepare to reopen your building, use these strategies to help protect your tenants from exposure to pathogens and the novel coronavirus. Learn more about Western commercial services and how our experts can help your business.