With the pace of the UK vaccine rollout increasing and infection numbers dropping rapidly, it looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll soon be emerging from lockdown 3. But it’s widely accepted that we’ll be living with Covid as a ‘managed risk’ for at least the rest of 2021 and possibly longer. Making sure we do that effectively will help us avoid further lockdowns and economic damage.
There’s a lot of information out there about what businesses should be doing to keep their premises safe, but to simplify that here’s a breakdown of the four main areas you need to make a provision for, or help your clients consider, as planning for a return to normality.
- Protection – reducing person-to-person transmission
- Disinfection – maintaining hygienic surfaces
- Partition – avoiding excess personal contact
- Detection – finding and isolating carriers early
Below are a few options for measures to take within each of those areas, hope it helps you/your clients come up with effective Covid-management strategies. Let us know if you’d like us to help with specifying any of the below for different environments.
Protective equipment to stop viruses spreading from people to surfaces, the air and other people is one of the most important areas of the fight against Covid. Masks and face coverings help prevent moisture droplets from mouths and noses reaching surfaces or being carried in the air. Hand sanitiser, face shields and gloves all help prevent people picking up viruses on their hands and then transmitting it to the vulnerable points in the face where the virus can enter the body – mouth, nose and eyes.
These are appropriate products to use to help cover this category:
- Masks and face shields
- Disposable gloves
- Sanitising stations and wall-mounted dispensers
- Hand sanitisers (70% alcohol)
- Hand washing – soap and disposable hand towels
However complete your provisions of protection equipment are, it is still critical to be sanitising surfaces regularly. Surface transmission is the main way Covid spreads, so eliminating viruses on regularly-touched surfaces as often as possible is very important. Surfaces should be cleaned, and then sanitised with virucidal sprays or wet wipes, on a frequent schedule through the day. You may want to increase daytime cleaning provisions to make sure this is done thoroughly, particularly around start, finish and break times where door handles, reception desks and touch plates are going to be being touched a lot. Surface coatings or touch-point covers with long-lasting anti-viral efficacy are also useful in reducing transmission but these supplement rather than replace a regular cleaning and disinfection programme.
- Virucidal cleaning chemicals (Make sure EN 14476 approved)
- Virucidal wipes (EN 14476 or 70+% Alcohol)
- Anti-microbial touch point covers
- Anti-microbial surface coating solutions
- Spraying machinery
Keeping a 2-metre distance between busy people at work isn’t always easy, but signage or floor markings will help remind people to keep apart. Where it isn’t possible to maintain distancing, screens and partitions can be used to avoid airflow and droplet transmission between people indoors.
- Desk screens
- Free-standing partitions
- Floor markings and signage
Even the most thorough hygiene provisions still don’t eliminate the possibility of viral spread altogether. The longer someone carrying the virus is in your building, the more likely it is they will infect another person or contaminate a surface, which someone could pick up the infection from before it is next cleaned. Detecting positive cases as early as possible, so the carriers can be removed from public areas and get tested quickly, is vital too. Infrared thermometers offer a quick check for one of the most common symptoms, and rapid test kits can be used for frequent/routine testing of staff, visitors or customers.
- Contactless thermometers
- Thermal screening units
- Rapid test kits
We hope this is a useful guide in preparing your premises for the safe return of staff and customers, but please do get in touch if you have any questions about it or things that you think should be added!