Information and advice for businesses re coronavirus

Information and advice for businesses re coronavirus

The global reach of coronavirus looks likely to affect the global economy but is there any way you can manage this virus and minimise its impact within your business?

In the chapter ‘Microbial You’ (in his book titled The Body), Bill Bryson writes about the spread of germs and viruses. Obviously this was written before coronavirus arrived but it still makes interesting, relevant and revealing reading. So I thought I’d use some of his examples here. If you want to follow this topic up in more detail, please read his book.

Example One is a study in Switzerland where it was discovered that the flu virus can live on bank notes for two and a half weeks (if accompanied by snot) but only a few hours if snot is not involved.

Example Two was when a volunteer was fitted with a device that leaked a thin fluid at the same rate as a runny nose might. This contained a dye to see how far it spread in a social meeting situation. Under ultra violet light this could then be seen on the hands, head and upper body of everyone in the room, as well as on cups/glasses, doorknobs, cushions and any snack food. Apparently the average adult touches his face an average of sixteen times an hour, spreading this snot from nose to food container to innocent third party and so on.

Example Three involved the University of Arizona where researchers similarly ‘infected’ the metal handle at their entrance door. It took just four hours for this visible ‘virus’ to spread through the entire building infecting over half of all staff and almost every shared device like printers, photocopiers or coffee machines.

How to keep coronavirus at bay

So how does a business keep coronavirus at bay without closing shop to its customers?

It’s mostly down to commonsense and strict hygiene it seems but here are some tips that should help your business do the right thing during the coronavirus threat and so you can continue trading as healthily as possible right through it.

  1. Make sure your staff know your rules here. Regular and thorough hand washing for starters. Expect those with colds to self-isolate themselves until their nose stops running.
  2. Where in doubt staff must self-isolate but if they aren’t ill, hopefully there’ll be something they can do for you from home?
  3. Stop shaking hands with anyone – business visitors, customers and staff. You can’t be sure they’re washing their hands as often as they should.
  4. Have a hand sanitiser handy for customers and ones for staff too.
  5. If you run a garage, use a bacteria killing cleaning product to wipe down car steering wheels, gearsticks, seats and dashboard controls before and after MOTs, car servicing and/or new car test drives and sales inspections.
  6. Make sure your office door handles/customer reception area/counter, any seating and washrooms are wiped down regularly (and thoroughly) with a bacteria killing cleaning product. Do this daily as a minimum.
  7. Use paper towels rather than fabric ones. The jury is out about the virtues of paper towels vs air dryers but clearly there is more to this choice than just their comparative ability to spread germs.
  8. Don’t get too close to customers (try to maintain recommended 6ft space).
  9. Take advice from NHS 111 if you are concerned about a specific situation.
  10. Wherever you can, steer clear of large events where infections can spread quickly/easily and viruses thrive – as per the ultra violet light example above.

If you can think of other tips to avoid the spread of coronavirus please email and I’ll add them to the list.

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