Covid-19 Cleaning: What Facility Managers and Businesses Should Consider
Many building owners, facility or property managers, and business owners are facing decisions about deep cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, given the current pandemic. There are several factors to consider when deciding.+
If you are one of those people, you are most likely trying to decide not whether to do it but when best to do it. Key factors to consider include whether your commercial space is occupied, whether there has been contamination and if so, how much. Every situation is different. In some cases, moving quickly is more important while other times waiting is the best course.
Here are some considerations depending on your situation…
YOU ARE CLOSED AND PLAN TO REOPEN => CLEAN NOW
Here is why we recommend, now:
• It’s safer. The best time to clean, sanitize, or disinfect a building is when it’s empty. Cleaning professionals are able to access the entire building without having to work around employees. Fogging and electrostatic disinfecting, the most effective and efficient disinfection for businesses, should be done when the building is empty. This avoids exposure to disinfectant by personnel or clients.
• It crosses it off your list so you have time to think more strategically. Completing the cleaning is a necessary task that you can cross off your list to let you focus on communication, marketing and other strategic tasks surrounding the re-opening of your business.
• Waiting puts you at a disadvantage. One of the challenges around the planning for re-opening of businesses and schools is that it will be happening in waves. These waves will create a lot of demand for professional cleaning. Waiting to get the cleaning done means you’ll be doing it when there is high demand and limited availability.
YOU ARE AN ESSENTIAL BUSINESS OR SERVICE => CLEAN NOW
Sanitizing and disinfecting now, and on an ongoing basis throughout the pandemic, will help keep everyone in your facility safe and you will be able to communicate that. Keeping employees healthy depends on rigorous cleaning more than ever. In addition, we know that employees are uncomfortable coming to work given the risk of becoming ill. Therefore, regularly disinfecting and sanitizing is a best practice.
If you choose to clean, sanitize, and disinfect while you are open, we recommend:
• Scheduling the cleaning when the building is empty. This is for the safety of everyone, and also to ensure the building is thoroughly disinfected. If this is not possible, there are alternate solutions that can make it work.
• Going beyond conventional janitorial services. Conventional janitorial services have focused on quick trash removal and surface cleaning. Disinfecting and sanitizing require another level of cleaning. This additional level involves different products and training.
• Maintaining a recurring sanitizing and disinfection schedule. A sanitized facility is only as clean as the first individual that comes onto the premises. The best way to maintain a healthy environment and prevent re-infection is to continually clean and disinfect high touch surfaces.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicating will generate peace of mind among all your stakeholders – clients, employees. Cleaning while building occupants are not in the building means that you have to communicate the steps being taken.
YOU HAVE HAD A CASE OF COVID-19 => WAIT TO CLEAN
When possible, it’s a good idea to wait to disinfect if there is a confirmed or suspected case of Covid19 inside your building. The longer you wait, the safer and less expensive the cleaning will be. As time goes on the “viral load decreases”. The complexity and risk of the cleaning job decreases.
There are different estimates for how long the Coronavirus survives without an infected individual present. Research by the CDC shows the Coronavirus’ RNA “was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated.” The more time that passes, the less of the virus there will be.
Total’s commercial cleaning services offer different sanitation and disinfecting protocols, based on an assessment of a facility’s exposure. In the case of heavily contaminated areas, the work requires a higher level of training as well as a higher level of PPE (personal protective equipment) to be worn by our staff.
This is the same PPE needed by frontline professionals. Therefore, if we can avoid using the highest level of protocols, the work will be less expensive. Cleaning companies such as Total Home Cleaning need to know how long it has been since there were confirmed/suspected virus cases in the facility and areas of highest potential infection. The successful and safe completion of disinfection depends on honest communication.
+ Coit Cleaning & Restoration offers these and additional thoughts when making your decision.