Dallas Grocery Store Cleaning Guidelines for Coronavirus
Problem germs come in many forms, but viruses are particularly pesky. Viruses are persistent because they rely on other living beings to survive.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the influenza (a.k.a. the flu) virus makes the rounds all year, but is most likely to spread during fall and winter. The flu survives through person-to-person contact as its lifespan shortens outside of a host’s body.
Public places full of people (like a Dallas grocery store) present plenty of new host opportunities for viruses. More bodies in a high-use space means more chances for contagions to spread. With diligence in consistent cleanings, we can mitigate the spread of viruses in retail spaces.
Importance of Preventing Pathogen Spread in Grocery and Retail Stores
How do viruses spread? According to the CDC, droplets are released into the air when infected people sneeze, cough, or talk. Most often, the virus travels through the air and lands in the mouth and nose of the new host.
It’s also possible that the viral microbes will land on surfaces to be picked up by the skin. When it’s picked up by the fingers, a person could unwittingly allow the virus inside by touching vulnerable entry points like the nose and mouth.
The strain of Coronavirus that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic advances the same way. The Coronavirus is more contagious than the flu because it can live on surfaces for several days, and we’ve not yet built up an immunity to it.
Due to public health measures like “shelter in place” directives, we’ve seen a growing demand placed on grocery stores facing increased shopping traffic. Under current circumstances in cities across the country, grocery stores remain open as an “essential service,” to serve those who need to stock up on supplies for remaining at home.
More traffic means that high touch areas (surfaces humans frequently touch like bathroom door handles and shopping carts) will accumulate germs and must be kept clean to prevent the spread of contagious viruses.
Because the coronavirus is believed to be more contagious and can live on surfaces for days, it’s important that we keep busy public places (like grocery stores) disinfected.
Essential Areas to Clean in a Retail or Grocery Store
More shoppers visiting the grocery store means more hands touching things. As mentioned before, areas that are handled most frequently are called “touch areas.” By giving more attention to germ-prone areas, store workers play a significant role in preventing the spread of viruses.
How do you properly clean sections of a grocery store?
Grocery Store Cleaning Checklist
- Shopping carts: As carts are used throughout the day, constantly wipe down the touch areas of the cart (especially the handles) with disinfectant cleaner. Treat hand baskets the same way. Nightly power washing serves as a proactive measure to sanitize and prepare the carts for use the next day.
- Checkout aisles: Cashiers (and with the assistance of baggers) should frequently clean the checkout area. The conveyor belt, rails on each side of the belt, customer counter, and the bagging area should be wiped down at pace with the number of customers passing through.
- Important: Keep credit card reading machines clean. Cash and plastic cards are known for harboring germs.
- Restrooms: Public restrooms in a store probably already receive several cleanings per day, but with a recent emphasis on public health, it’s wise to increase the frequency of cleaning. Customer and employee restrooms should be sanitized throughout the day: floors, doors, stall walls/doors, all handles (including paper towel and soap dispensers), sinks, counters, baby changing sections, etc. Once the store is empty for the day, a more comprehensive cleaning should be done from top to bottom. Sanitize everything.
- Floors: Floors are high-traffic areas, and grocery store floors get even more foot traffic now that restaurant traffic is prohibited beyond carry-out. For more efficient and thorough floor sanitization, consider using an industrial auto-scrubber.
- Walk-in freezers and refrigerators: Because freezers and refrigeration units house more prepared food these days, it’s a best practice to keep them clean for food safety. Give extra attention to these areas where products are handled by customers. These areas should be routinely cleaned. At the time that works best for your store schedule, remove the items from the refrigerator or freezer and clean the surfaces with no-touch products. This mitigates contamination.
The above is not a comprehensive list, but it does cover some of the main trouble spots. Be aware of places where hands leave behind germs and coughs/sneezes may leave behind pathogens.
SERVPRO Cleanup Scope and Disinfecting Procedures for Dallas Retail Stores
In light of recent events, our SERVPRO has had a focused intent on assisting Dallas area public health efforts. We consult the CDC recommendations to keep our decontamination services and procedures aligned with official policies.
The CDC has emphasized consistent cleaning of “high touch” areas. Below is a list of examples of areas that collect germs with greater frequency.
Cleanup Scope of Work and Planning
These “high-touch” areas must be sanitized regularly:
- Bathroom fixtures
- Light switches
Germ-prone heavy use areas:
- Carpets and rugs
- Elevator cars
- Fitness equipment
- Kitchen/food areas
- Playground equipment
- Retail spaces
- Sales counters
- Shelving and racks
- Stair handrails
- Water fountains
Cleanup Does Not Protect Against Future Contamination
SERVPRO is prepared to do our part for public health in the Dallas area by fighting COVID-19 with complete and thorough Dallas commercial cleaning services.
Please note that the decontamination process only eliminates the microbes present at the time of the cleaning. If an area is suspected to be contaminated again, the sanitation process must be repeated.
We understand that you probably don’t want a cleanup crew in the store while customers are present. With our 24-hour operations, we work around your store’s needs.
Other Measures Grocery Stores Should Take to Protect Customers and Workers
At SERVPRO, public health is a top priority. We’re here to support our Dallas area grocery stores by promoting efficient service and sanitation best practices.
We’ve seen swift action by retailers to adjust to the current circumstances. For your consideration, below are examples of effective measures currently in use by grocery stores.
- Dedicated shopping time for senior citizens: Allow the elderly exclusive access to the store the first hour of the morning when the store has not yet been touched with so many hands. This also helps curb a rush that puts our vulnerable seniors at risk with not enough social distancing.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers and courtesy wipes: Your cashiers may get slammed with long lines. Make sure they have hand sanitizer to protect themselves and disinfecting products (like wipes) to clean high touch areas and surfaces that could be sneezed on.
Place hand wipe and alcohol rub dispensers at entrances and other key points of the store. It’s recommended to use mounted dispensers to discourage portable containers from wandering away.
- Hand washing breaks and cash handling protocol: If possible, rotate your cashiers out of register duty for handwashing breaks. Instruct them to sanitize their hands if they touch something a customer has handed to them like coupons and credit cards, but especially cash.
- Transparent guards at checkout: For years, sneeze guards have been used to protect buffet food and plexiglass has been used to protect clerks from criminals. Today, we are beginning to see see-through guards installed at registers. This protects your cashiers should someone unknowingly spray pathogens onto them. Store staff are on the front lines and need all the protection they can get. It keeps them working to help the community but also keeps them from getting the virus and then passing it onto others.
- Distancing markers: For the protection of all, 6 feet is the personal spacing guideline set by the CDC and the WHO. While it’s not practical to place floor markers in free movement areas, it makes sense to place them where people are stationary (where customers line up). These are gentle reminders to make space with others.
- Staggering of entrance: Too many people in the store at a time makes it a challenge to promote distancing. Allowing only a set number of people at a time to enter helps control crowds.
- Cart sanitation duty: While courtesy wipes are available, that doesn’t mean customers will use them. Dedicating some staff to wiping down carts between uses is a way to ensure one of the most touched surfaces is getting the proper attention.
Why Hire SERVPRO Over Other Dallas Cleaning Companies?
SERVPRO of North Irving has years of experience in thoroughly decontaminating facilities with a variety of Dallas biohazard cleanup services. Past and present experiences have us well-prepared for this current public health event.
SERVPRO is here to partner with our Dallas area grocery stores to maintain a healthy shopping environment. Should you have reason to believe your store has been exposed to the Coronavirus or you just need a more thorough cleaning than the staff is equipped for, we’ve got you covered. Our team will thoroughly clean the areas and have you back up and running within a day.
We have been working one-on-one with facility owners to create tactical cleaning plans. We’re here to educate our community on what actions to take if someone infected with COVID-19 has been on the premises of a retail establishment. We’ve created in-depth protocol guides to help businesses prepare for the potential scenarios. We’ll help businesses save time by sharing our proactive plan resources.
To schedule a bioremediation cleaning or for assistance with planning, just call us at (972) 986-7677 or complete our convenient contact form.