Today we sat down with Ian Eckersley, one of the owners and Operations Director at Shorrock Trichem to ask what can hospitality venues do to prepare for reopening.
Many venues will be looking to reopen over the next few months, some for the first time since lockdown. What can they do to help get themselves ready?
For any business looking to reopen not just those in hospitality, preparation and planning are all important. Because of Coivd-19 cleaning and hygiene considerations will have changed so there are going to be additional measures and products that staff and customers need to be aware of.
Source the correct products.
Pre pandemic most businesses will have been familiar with a range of products suited to previously accepted hygiene standards. The expectation now is that surface sanitisers carry the EN 14476 standard for virucidal regulations. If they are being used in food preparation areas that they also need to meet the EN1276 to demonstrate that are certified against bacteria.
High spec and high-quality products in this area are now essential and we know from speaking to our customers that the Environmental Health departments are looking for hospitality businesses to adopt these.
Setting standards and training staff.
Venues need to make sure that effective hygiene standards are in place and are practical enough to be maintained on a day to day basis. For this to happen it is important staff receive the adequate training
a) To make sure that they understand their duties and responsibilities
b) To make sure that they know how to use products correctly and safely.
Something that we try to impress upon our customers is that if they are using a EN14476 certified product to kill Covid-19 they must adhere to the contact time on the bottle. Not everyone is aware of this but surface sanitisers need anywhere from 1-5 minutes of contact in order to kill Covid-19. When using a sanitiser I’d advise everyone to adopt the mantra. Spray. Wait. Wipe.
Identify the problems
Carrying out an audit of your premises to identify high traffic areas and touch points is a good place to start. The tops of tables are generally the first thing to be cleaned in between customers but the back of chairs are often an after thought. It’s easy to forget that they are one of the first and last things people touch when they leave or sit down.
Assess your stock levels
Because of the extra cleaning duties venues will naturally need to carry more stock; non woven wipers, blue paper rolls, surface and hand sanitisers are essential. To prevent cross contamination in a hospitality setting we would certainly recommend the use of ‘single use’ blue paper wipes. These are fully disposable and recyclable if disposed of into the correct waste stream. We’ve seen most of our customers in the leisure sector use more than twice as much blue paper roll in the past twelve months than they have in previous years.
I think the demand from the general public to visit hospitality venues will be extremely high, so what we don’t want is to be caught out. Our company will be increasing stock levels as we move through the easing of lockdown to make sure that we are ready to meet our customers’ expectations.
As a word of warning, demand was so great last time that even manufacturers were caught out by the sudden spike, which is why we saw certain lines run out. While it is difficult to predict, increasing stock levels of key consumables is most likely the right approach rather than minimizing. As we move towards June, we should all expect lead times to increase slightly as more businesses reopen.
What can venues do at the start of each day to make sure they are ready?
I would start off by checking to see whether there were any issues on the previous day. If so, what were they, what new measures can be put in place to prevent a reoccurrence and are staff are aware of them. We have to expect a certain amount of ‘learn as we go’ over the next few months so venues should always be ready to adapt their procedures where necessary.
Businesses need to be made aware that certain sanitisers have a shelf life. The expiry of the product needs to be observed for the product to be most effective, so therefore ensure that applicable sanitisers are emptied and refilled with new product. Most sanitisers have a reasonably good shelf life but there are products on the market that will need changing every day and for those businesses using ozone-based products, they will need to make sure they are changed every few hours.
What can be done to make sure that customers conform to your disinfection policies?
One of the main contributors in running a successful hygiene programme is making sure people know your business has one. When customers arrive make sure your greeters communicate what your policies are around social distancing and what you expect of them to help maintain good hygiene standards.
They (businesses) can also make sure that hand sanitiser dispensers are placed around the premises in strategic locations; entrances, inside and outide of washrooms and in corridors and walkways are good places to start. Plenty of visual signage will help you raise your profile, let customers see what you’re trying to achieve and help them to remain compliant.
Are you in favour of a fixed dispenser? Yes, the beauty of a fixed dispenser is that it’s very difficult for someone to walk off with it. Most dispensers also come with sanitary sealed cartridges to prevent cross contamination and the products that go in them are more likely to carry the correct certification.
Unlike the 5 litre containers with a pump top we’ve all seen, most dispensers produce a foam-based product which gives you a greater number of shots of sanitiser per litre and deliver better cost in use. This means users receive better hand sanitisation and you pay less.
How can you maximise your end of day cleaning schedule?
It’s always important to make sure that cleaning standards are maintained throughout the course of the day, but the end of service is generally the best time to carry out a thorough disinfection. In the current climate venues should be allowing additional cleaning time to make sure they are fully combating Covid-19. Begin by identifying any high-risk areas and places that aren’t as easy to access when customers are there. A cleaning schedule is an excellent way to make sure that all areas have been cleaned properly.
Check that dispensers are working and that any signage is still in place. Most distributors like ourselves will source and fit replacements relatively quickly so that businesses and their customers experience as little disruption as possible.
Beyond that there is also an opportunity to use the latest technology, there are now ozone machines that sanitise the air in a room. Areas can be sealed off and all hard surfaces even the underside of tables, pictures and decorations can all be sanitised in just 30 minutes. We have supplied several football clubs with these who use them to great effect in their changing rooms before and after games. It’s extremely effective and a very efficient way of disinfecting a large space in a short amount of time.
How can hygiene suppliers help venues in the run up to reopening?
We would advise you to always seek expert advice from your distributor of hygiene products and the services they can deliver for you. They can work with you in a partnership to understand your needs and offer the best products and training to meet them.
Most businesses in our industry have trained experts who can work on site to personalise the service and product offering to your business. They will deliver the right products, that deliver the right performance, improve cost in use and provide the environmental benefits that most companies strive for.
Did you find the information in this article helpful? Let us know what unexpected challenges you have prior to reopening or if you have any questions post them below and we will get back to you?