The post lockdown world is going to be very different to how we remember it. As shops begin to open, people return to offices and the hospitality sector has been allowed to reopen there are going to be many changes put in place when it comes to hygiene. Similar to the changes we have seen implemented in supermarkets, including distance markers, sanitising stations and deep cleaning there is going to be strict new guidance regarding hygiene in the workplace.

To ensure that UK businesses are keeping in line with hygiene guidelines, the government has released a Covid-19 Secure guide which details how businesses are to make changes to ensure they are doing everything to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. This includes specific guidance on social distancing and hygiene measures. Businesses are to ensure they are ‘Covid-19 secure’ before reopening.

Before Re-Opening

Prior to re-opening it is recommended to carry out a deep clean of the premises and put in place cleaning procedures, hand sanitising stations and sneeze guards if required. Regular maintenance schedules should be implemented which can look into aspects of your property such as ventilation systems which may need cleaning to prevent the spread of bacteria and compliance certifications which may have lapsed during closure.

Social distancing measures will also need to be considered which can include increasing the distance between tables in restaurants and bars along with considering how technology can be utilised to order food and drinks as opposed to approaching a bar or service station.

Keeping the Workplace Clean

Once open, frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment as well as objects and surfaces that are touched regularly will be necessary, and doors should be wedged open where possible to remove touchpoints.

In retail, aspects such as self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and staff handheld devices should be cleaned regularly and in hospitality, this will include things such as menus and tables. At the end of shift workspaces should be cleared, waste removed, and belongings removed.

In line with government guidance if any person has any symptoms they should stay home and self-isolate, and not go in to work.

For restaurants and bars looking to reopen, the highest hygiene standards must be upheld. Kitchen areas should already have the most stringent cleaning procedures, but additional measures should be added wherever possible and necessary. There should also be bins for used towels and staff overalls. Workers must thoroughly wash their hands before handling any plates or takeaway boxes and a high frequency of hand washing should be maintained throughout the day along with limiting the use of high touch items.

Specific government guidance on cleaning after a suspected Covid-19 case should always be followed.

Handwashing and Sanitizing

To promote hygiene practices, clear signage should be in place which encourages good handwashing techniques, frequency of handwashing and to avoid touching your face. There should also be signs advising people to use a tissue should they cough or sneeze. Hand sanitizer stations should be in place across multiple locations on the premises, including outside the washroom. Hands should be washed after handling customer items, before moving onto the next.

Fitting Rooms

Fitting rooms in shops should not open. This is due to the various challenges in operating them safely. The only essential fitting rooms are for key workers who may need to try on protective clothing. Where this is the case, they should be cleaned frequently.

Handling Merchandise

The first step to ensuring the safe handling of merchandise is to encourage increased and better handwashing to reduce risk of transmission on merchandise. It is important to limit customer handling of merchandise with signage and rotation. If it can be, stock should be cleaned. Pick up and drop off points should be used to avoid passing goods hand to hand and no contact refunds should be put in place where possible. Returned or donated items should be stored in a container or separate room for at least 48 hours before being displayed. For rental equipment or vehicles there should be cleaning touch points upon return.

Handling Goods and Onsite Vehicles

Those handling goods should be encouraged to increase their handwashing and cleaning procedures should be in place for goods coming into the site. Where shared vehicles are used, the inside and handles should be regularly cleaned.

For warehouses where goods are entering the site, it is important to have specific cleaning procedures in place and for vehicles. Greater handwashing should be introduced along with increasing the amount of handwashing stations for those handling goods.

Specific cleaning procedures should be in place for shared equipment such as pallet trucks and forklift trucks, along with increased equipment cleaning between each use.

Upon re-opening, MSL can help get you ready. From ensuring your HVAC system is well-maintained to fitting hand sanitizing stations across the workplace. MSL can help ensure you are compliant and in line with hygiene guidelines. For more information on how MSL Property Care Services can help your business re-open following new hygiene guidelines, contact us today.