It’s the moment many have been waiting for since strict lockdown restrictions were imposed back in March, the return of the hospitality sector, with pubs and restaurants opening up across the country.
For more than three months, this vibrant industry has been held back by the Coronavirus, with establishments unable to welcome guests through their doors. But with COVID-19 in retreat, it’s time to get the hospitality sector back up and running.
Numerous measures have been introduced to ensure the safety of staff and customers, from protective screens across bars and adequately distanced tables, to staff wearing masks and visors and table service. But, while many are keen to get back to some normality, some have their reservations.
In fact, a recent survey found that 30% of diners were nervous about setting foot in a restaurant and another poll showed that an overwhelming eight in ten people had no plans to hit the pub on the opening weekend.
If the hospitality sector is to bounce back, it needs to win the trust of these anxious customers. It needs to instil confidence amongst guests by showing that safety measures are robust enough to stand up to COVID-19. And cleaning and hygiene will play a major role in this.
Gone are the days where a quick wipe over the bar or table will suffice and it most certainly is the time to chop the mop. In fact, hospitality and many other settings, need to adopt a whole new approach to cleaning in the post-lockdown world. Including the over-reliance on disinfectant.
What many people don’t realise is that using disinfectants can actually be counterproductive. Like the losing battle of antibiotics against superbugs, they become increasingly ineffective over time.
Although the solution may kill most bacteria, it doesn’t remove them, leaving dead microbes, along with any surviving germs, spread across the surface. And these microbes, dead or alive, serve as a food source for the next wave of bugs. Some bacteria also produce biofilms that can effectively defend them from cleaning agents. So, there is a real danger that disinfectant only increases the bacterial resistance, rendering it ineffective after consistent use.
So, as the beer garden starts to fill and the orders roll into the kitchen, it is vital that the clean-up operation is COVID secure. After all, if customers don’t feel comfortable with your cleaning practices, they simply won’t come back, especially in the current hygiene-focused climate.
There is a simple three-step cleaning process that removes dirt, improves procedures and protects the environment from bacteria and viruses, the Remove, Improve and Protect method.
Tables, surfaces and floors in bars and restaurants can quickly become unhygienic, with high footfall, spills and drips creating dirty, sticky surfaces. Traditional mopping and wiping won’t remove the bacteria, only move it around. The only way to eliminate dirt on hard surfaces is by adding water and the correct chemistry and removing the used solution. By using this process, the days of sticky tables, bars and floors should be long gone.
All cleaning should be process-driven and continuously improve cleanliness levels each time. Using a high-flow fluid extraction process will enable significant improvements from the very first time it is used, enabling cleaners to consistently deliver high standards of hygiene.
The effectiveness of the process can then be measured by taking adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measurements before and after cleaning, to ensure that surfaces are not just clean, but free of germs.
The final step of the process should always be to protect the surfaces with a solution like the Zoono Z-71 Microbe Shield, which is a cost-effective, residual polymer-based antimicrobial protection.
The solution provides 30-days active protection for any treated surface, significantly reducing the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses, giving a unique, proven, long-lasting barrier protection. We recommend that main touch points, such as bars, tables and door handles are treated every seven days, with the wider area fogged or sprayed every 21 days for the very best hygiene. Routine cleaning can continue between applications, without disrupting the Zoono molecule or its antimicrobial activity.