What is COVID, how does it spread, and what should I do to protect my staff and customers?
Coronavirus is the name for a family of viruses. COVID-19 is an illness caused by the new or “novel” coronavirus, meaning that humans have no existing immunity to its effects at this time. The virus spreads from person to person and has now spread throughout the world. Its symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe illness, even death.
COVID-19 is spread through close contact (6 feet or less) with an infected individual. COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person, and new infections occur when respiratory droplets are transferred from an infected person who breathes, talks, coughs, or sneezes near an uninfected person. Additionally, it may also be transmittable when an uninfected person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.
To protect your staff and patrons from COVID-19, the CDC provides these recommendations:
- Ensure that you and your employees wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- If soap is not readily available, use sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol or more and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
- Do not touch your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands.
- Enforce social distancing when possible if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This may mean closing non-essential businesses or transforming your location to offer pick-up/drive-thru services only. Reduce your staff to essential personnel only.
- Stay home or keep employees home for 2 weeks if they are exhibiting flu like symptoms.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces multiple times a day with sanitizers or disinfectants.
CDC Guidance on disinfecting your business to reopen and stay open:
- Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
- Disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 can also help reduce the risk. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.
- Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together–this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
Routine housekeeping practices are often sub-optimal, and some studies have shown that disinfection offers 82% improvement, resulting in a 68% decrease in bacteriological environmental contamination.
Source: ATP testing: a proven method to Measure Cleanliness, hygiene, 2015
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