Undeniably, the sight of staff in restaurants and hospitality venues dutifully scrubbing tables, laminated menus and all available surfaces between customers is reassuring for the clientele.
However, it appears we might not be as effective as we hope when we are using surface sanitiser. Fiona Henriquez, Professor in the School of Health and Life Sciences at the University of the West of Scotland, said recently:
“We need a 3-minute dwell time for certain disinfectants. Any chemical that is in touch with a microorganism, it’s not instantaneous. Chemicals don’t zap them out and eliminate them, in some sort of Star Wars fashion…
“Going into restaurants and seeing people just spraying tables and wiping clean, that’s just taking crumbs away…
It takes 3 minutes. It’s not going to take an hour. Spray, go away and do something else and come back.”
Professor Henriquez explained that thorough, routine cleaning is important as the first step of a multi-level sanitisation strategy. If surfaces are scrupulously cleaned, there is nowhere for microbes to hide when it comes to the next level: disinfection. Microscopic layers of dirt or fungus form invisible bio-films, micro-environments for pathogens such as viruses and bacteria to hide and breed. Regular cleaning strips away that protection, meaning that the application of disinfectant will more effectively eliminate any potential source of infection.
This does raise concerns about sustainability and the effect on the environment of long-term increased use of cleaning chemicals. The use of anti-microbial bioactive hard and soft surfaces reduces the need to use chemicals, delivering a win-win of protecting your clients, staff and visitors, as well as the environment.
The next dimension in the strategy is the airborne dimension.
There is a massive body of evidence that surface sanitisation and hand sanitisation alone, even with mask-wearing, is not sufficient to prevent cross-infection of Covid-19. The World Health Organisation states: “Despite consistent evidence as to SARS-CoV-2 contamination of surfaces and the survival of the virus on certain surfaces, there are no specific reports which have directly demonstrated fomite transmission.”
The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) advises that “the principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus.”
So, we need to bear in mind that the virus is airborne - it is a disease transmitted by breathing in.
Therefore, we need to pay as much attention to the air that we breathe as to the surfaces we touch. Personal distancing and the wearing of masks or visors is our first level of defence here.
The next is good ventilation. Fresh air circulating whisks air away, laden with virus-laden droplets.
The ultimate level is to look at the air itself. It is not usually possible to ventilate every corner of a hotel, 24/7, especially with our British weather. One solution is a chemical-free sanitisation system that purifies the air and leaves rooms and public spaces safely inhabitable.
Clearly, the answer is to eliminate the twin threats of surface and airborne contamination. The challenge is to produce a strategy to sanitise both safely and with a minimum of potential long-term chemical build-up, which would damage the environment and could provoke health problems for people with compromised respiratory systems, for example.
Using the same chemical-free sanitisation system for the air as for the soft and hard surfaces would provide the ultimate protection at the highest level of sanitisation and hygiene, while minimising concerns about long-term side-effects.
To book your free venue assessment with the sanitisation experts at Elytraa Group, contact us on 01786 439839 or firstname.lastname@example.org.