As lockdown restrictions are loosened and shops reopen, retailers are going to have to be extra vigilant when it comes to store cleanliness and hygiene. Keeping retail stores clean is vital for the health and wellbeing of your staff, your customers and for your business reputation.
We have some helpful hints and tips to help keep your retail environment clean and free from infection.
Make personal hygiene a priority
Make sure you encourage extra personal hygiene measures among your store staff. Ensure employees wash their hands frequently. By washing their hands, they minimise the risk of spreading the virus by touch. This is particularly important if they touch their face or cough, or before or after handling merchandise.
Hand sanitiser should be made available for staff and customers throughout the store. It should be located at the most commonly used areas of the store, like the entrance and the checkout or point of sale area. Make sure you include a sign that encourages shoppers to help themselves to the sanitiser.
You should also encourage staff to wear masks and gloves, especially when speaking to customers or handling cash.
Prioritising hygiene also means prioritising staff health. Encourage your staff to be as open as possible about their health. If staff are feeling unwell, explain why it’s important that they don’t come to work. Create an atmosphere where your employees feel safe coming to you if they are feeling unwell.
Keep the store clean
Your store should be kept as clean as possible to reduce the likelihood of cross-infection. Cross-infection can happen when an infected person touches a surface and the infection is then passed to the next person who touches it.
You should regularly clean and disinfect all surfaces, especially those that are regularly touched like door handles, EFTPOS terminals, display merchandise and anything else that’s regularly handled. This should take place regularly throughout the day. Remember, you can’t be too liberal with the cleaning.
Outside of work hours, you should invest in an expert commercial cleaning service to thoroughly clean and disinfect the store each night.
To minimise the number of surfaces staff need to disinfect during working hours, try and limit what customers can touch. Remove as much display, test or sample merchandise as possible and try to implement a contactless payments only policy.
Maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres between people is recommended to avoid spreading the virus. While it isn’t foolproof, it can limit cross-infection between people.
If possible, optimise your store layout for social distancing. You may need to rearrange aisles or mark out areas where customers should wait to be served safely.
To help with social distancing, you can limit how many people can be inside the store at once. Your local health authority may have guidelines for maximum capacity to prevent cross-infection. It can be useful to have a staff member located at the entrance keeping track of how many people are in the store at any time.
Keep everyone informed
If your hygiene measures are to be put in place effectively, everyone should be aware of what they need to be doing.
Have a meeting with your employees to discuss any changes to policy and procedures. Discuss any concerns they have and problem solve how best to deal with these.
Have clear signage for customers explaining any changes to services. This might include distancing rules, the number of shoppers allowed in the store at a time, changes to payment services, rules for handling merchandise and so on. Look, Benefits of a Commercial Cleaning
It’s important to make this information easily accessible. This helps with social distancing as well as ensuring everyone has the same reasonable expectations. Include this information on your website or social media, as well as in store. Be prepared to talk about it with staff and customers.
We all have a responsibility to prevent viruses from spreading. However, if you run a business, it is up to you to ensure staff and customers can safely visit the store without risk of infection. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to do this — you just need to be prepared.