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Post-COVID Cleanliness and Hygiene: Is Your Business Ready?

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Post-COVID Cleanliness and Hygiene: Is Your Business Ready?

Post-COVID Cleanliness and Hygiene: Is Your Business Ready?
June 05
11:49 2020

Peter Teska

In many countries around the world, restaurants were among the first to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bookings disappeared almost overnight and such a rapid change of circumstances has meant that operators are now, in effect, at ground zero. As the world begins to emerge from lock-down, Peter Teska explains why the implementation of effective cleaning procedures will be crucial to re-establishing reputations when the time comes…

New expectations around cleanliness

The foodservice industry is well-versed in the necessity for cleanliness in both front-of-house and back-of-house areas. Yet diners’ sensitivity to hygiene standards has been traditionally based on appearance. Now, however, the presence of Coronavirus requires operators to conform to unparalleled new levels of cleanliness. With increased expectations of hygiene, both diners and staff will want to know – and to confirm with their own eyes – that a business is doing its utmost to ensure health and safety standards are maintained and, indeed, improved.

Creating a clear plan based on a feasible reopening date is crucial. Having experienced a highly disruptive period of uncertainty, planning ahead will enable operators to assess risks and measure progress. It also helps to raise team spirit by creating a mutual goal among staff and allows everyone to work backwards from the intended opening date to determine how quickly other tasks need to be completed.

Best practice is crucial

Implementing the following strategies will help ready your restaurant for reopening:

  • Social distancing: With strict limits on the number of diners, evaluating the layout of your restaurant and defining entrance and exit routes will be essential
  • Face coverings: If social distancing from staff and diners will not be possible on a continuous basis, masks may be required for staff
  • Training and communication: Training on all new public health practices is crucial, especially for employees whose duties have not previously involved cleaning. Developing kits that combine prevention, ease of use and best practice will be essential
  • Prioritise hand hygiene: Regular hand washing procedures and the use of hand sanitiser will be central to limiting exposure, as will access to wall-mounted dispensers and free-standing hand hygiene stations

The percentage of alcohol in hand sanitizer is key to its effectiveness. Many products have rushed to market on the back of the pandemic that should be treated with caution. An existing registered product will provide assurance and its efficacy should be proven according to the European Norm 150.[1] Hand sanitiser with an alcohol content of 60% is the minimum recommendation, while those that contain more than 70% alcohol content will ensure a faster kill rate.

Regular hand washing remains critical

Select the right chemicals 

Use disinfectants that are specifically approved for Coronavirus. The shorter the contact time – one minute or less – the better for inactivating the virus. Hospital-grade disinfectants are rapidly becoming the new normal in disinfection. They use technologies like Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP), which are markedly safer for people and surfaces while still being tough on pathogens.

AHP achieves the balance of maximising potency while minimising toxicity. It also breaks down into environmentally friendly water and oxygen just minutes after use.

Conduct hand contact surface disinfection

Studies show that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can remain on surfaces for several days, including 48 hours on stainless steel and 72 hours on plastic.[3] Routine disinfection of high hand contact surfaces is an important part of preventing the risk of transmission. Commonly touched surfaces should be put on a cleaning schedule to ensure they are disinfected frequently.

Ready-to-use liquids, pre-moistened wipes and concentrates will all help convenience and consistency. It may also help if products, tools and equipment are colour-coded for different cleaning procedures to help prevent cross-contamination and the spread of germs.

Work with a trusted provider

In the new normal of hyper-vigilance, first impressions are critical as operators seek to rebuild previous levels of customer confidence

Don’t make the budget supply option your main criteria and avoid buying ineffective, unproven products from an unfamiliar source online or from your general distributor. With supply chains struggling to achieve pre-pandemic levels, relying on a single hygiene partner for everything from chemicals to training will improve efficiency.

There is nothing certain in the new normal for the foodservice sector. Nevertheless, by implementing a clear plan and the appropriate cleaning and hygiene measures, businesses can create the safest possible restaurant environment for staff and diners.

Peter Teska is an expert in global infection prevention application with Diversey, the leader in sustainable solutions for cleaning and hygiene.


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Catering Scotland

Catering Scotland

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