Protecting Essential Activities: Public Sanitation

With the current pandemic, many businesses closed their doors indefinitely, waiting to once more serve their communities. However, supermarkets were deemed essential and remained open to serve communities. Throughout the country, grocery store and supermarket workers bravely risked their health during the pandemic to fulfil the needs of American households. It is time to consider more effective public sanitation solutions to take care of shoppers and employees alike.

 Adapting to the current situation and working to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many supermarkets made efforts to follow CDC regulations such as having employees wearing masks, limiting the number of people inside the stores, and sanitizing high contact surfaces. Nonetheless, they remain a risk, with people congregating in close spaces. This begs the question – how safe are these current measures of public sanitation for grocery shopping, touching a shopping cart handle, a credit card terminal, or a checkout counter? 

Often, the fast-pace nature of supermarkets makes keeping high standards of sanitization an almost impossible burden; employees may have to leave their assigned duties of being at the ready, disinfectant and rag in hand. In this time, an infected air droplet could fall to a high touch surface, such as on a shopping cart handle or self-checkout screens, exposing the customers and their employees to risks of getting COVID-19 on their person. As for the credit card terminals, the matter is worse yet. Touchscreens are proven to highest concentrations of pathogens, including bacteria, mold, and viruses. Supermarkets and other businesses have been found to use the equivalent of Saran Wrap film to cover those surfaces, falsely (and unconvincingly) attempting to provide the impression that the surface is antimicrobial. 

Meanwhile, though a valient albeit desperate effort, it’s virtually impossible for employees to keep cleaning the door handles each time a customer touches it, leaving to chance the spread of germs. Essentially a Lotto gamble played against the well being of shoppers out to purchase essential items

 A recent survey from the Ipsos group found that 62% of customers would stop shopping at a particular store if they didn’t think the company was taking health and safety matters seriously. To this day, many safety measures recommended by the CDC are not being met. More than 30% of the stores do not have a plexiglass divider and 58% are not actively limiting the number of people. More concerningly, is that 64% of the supermarkets did not have a regular cleaning of high touch surfaces, such as shopping carts and door handles. Essential businesses must take essential steps to ensure safety and protection.

Essential businesses cannot compromise on public health. To cover all their bases, supermarkets should and are looking for state of the art solutions like TouchPoint, a durable self-cleaning film with antimicrobial properties*, onto high-touch surfaces. By implementing creative and hi-tech proactive measures, supermarkets will not only protect their customers and employees, but also become the pioneers and best practice-setters to other venues as they look to open safely and welcome back the crowds.

Samy Waintraub

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