As Covid-19 vaccines are rolled out across the globe, we can begin to look forward to a return to travel, tourism and hospitality. This is sure to be exciting not just for those returning to work in these industries, but also for consumers who can look forward to much needed trips and meals out.
That being said, although the roll-out of vaccines brings some relief and reassurance, it doesn’t mean that we don’t still need to be careful with the spread of viruses and bacteria. We foresee a permanent impact on peoples’ perceptions regarding hygiene and disinfection following this pandemic, and a shift in priority for business cleaning processes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that indoor gatherings, particularly in social settings such as restaurants and bars, can be a hotbed of activity for spreading germs and bacteria. As a result, it’s likely that even beyond the Covid-19 pandemic consumers will evaluate businesses’ cleaning and hygiene protocols as part of their decision-making process when choosing where to frequent, as we will all be a bit wary of germs and virus risks for years to come.
From a business perspective, the pandemic has also highlighted the importance of minimising the spread of illness in the workforce. Prior to the pandemic, it was not uncommon for employees to be expected to attend work throughout periods of minor illness such as colds and flus. Having witnessed how quickly a virus can spread between close contacts, this expectation is unlikely to continue – customers will be wary of any business with visibly unwell staff, and employers will be anxious to avoid illnesses compromising their staffing levels.
So the question is: how can those in the hospitality industry get ready to reopen safely, ensuring that both staff and customers feel secure and confident in their premises? Here are our top tips:
- Layout: as has already been implemented by many organisations, a clear flow of traffic through your premises will help to avoid unnecessary contact between people. Ensuring adequate space between tables / seats / customers will minimise risk to customers while allowing staff to move more easily also.
- Barriers: adding partitions or barriers in front of high-traffic areas (such as Reception desks and pay points), or even between tables can provide an added layer of protection for both staff and customers.
- Volume: keeping music and other background noises to a minimal level will reduce the need for people to raise their voices in order to be heard. Raised voices can result in droplet transmission, so avoiding the need to project voices can significantly reduce the risk of viruses and germs spreading from person to person.
- Airflow & ventilation: it has been proven that airborne particles spread quite effectively in social settings. Keeping windows open can help to change or refresh the air, reducing the percentage of contaminants in the air. If keeping windows open isn’t an option, technology can be installed to help with sanitising airflow in the building while customers are present – such as upper room UV sterilizers. Upper room UV sterilizers produce ultraviolet (UV-C) radiation, which sterilises the air and surfaces that it comes into contact with. As these units point upwards towards the ceiling, there is no risk of UV-C exposure to anybody present below the devices, so it is safe to run these sterilizers while people are present.
- Aim for consistent staff rostering: while this may be easier said than done, employing staff in teams could help with minimising the spread of illnesses among your staff. If each employee works with varying colleagues on a constant basis, and one employee contracts a bug or a virus, this could rapidly spread among your entire workforce. By grouping your employees together, you can aim to limit the spread of illness beyond a single group. Staff might also thank you for consistency in their work schedule too!
- Hygiene and disinfection processes: we’ve all become accustomed to cleaning and disinfecting our hands and surfaces on a regular basis since the start of the pandemic. The more frequently and more thoroughly we disinfect, the less likely there is to be a case of Covid-19 or other virus. We expect this to continue beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, as minimising the spread of illnesses provides significant benefits – from reassuring your customers that they’re safe in your premises, to reducing staff sick days. Daily deep cleaning and disinfection will provide ongoing protection and reassurance against the spread of bacteria and viruses. Depending on your method of disinfection, it can also help to prevent mould, and in some cases can even be effective against insects and flies. Of course, choosing the right method of disinfection is crucial to this – and each organisation will need to do their own research to determine the best method for themselves. UV sterilising may be a good option for many organisations in the hospitality industry as it’s chemical-free, meaning there is no chemical residue left behind which could be harmful to customers or visitors. It is also food-safe, and in fact may even help to extend the shelf life of perishable food items such as fruits and vegetables as it kills any bacteria that may be sitting on the surfaces of these foods. It can be used in any room that may need disinfecting, including kitchens, dining rooms, reception areas, guest rooms and more.
The Muv-X UV room sterilizer has already been implemented by a number of businesses in the hospitality industry, including hotels and restaurants. Hear from Paul Treyvaud of Treyvaud’s restaurant in Killarney below about how the Muv-X UV sterilizer provides peace of mind for himself and for his customers.