foot traffic

6 ways to prepare for increased foot traffic

Businesses can prepare for greater foot traffic by implementing strong protocols
Friday, November 5, 2021
By John Engel

As more people return to public facilities, consumers, and employees continue to have heightened expectations of facility cleanliness. Additionally, the increase in facility foot traffic may lead to the spread of “forgotten” pathogens, such as influenza and norovirus, through contaminated surfaces and infected individuals.[1]

Fortunately, facilities can implement cleaning protocols to maintain consumer and staff confidence while helping to reduce the spread of germs in facilities.

Foot traffic is coming

North Americans travelled less than ever before due to cancelled trips in 2020. As vaccine distribution continues, more people are expected to resume activities such as air travel, visiting restaurants, and staying in hotels. For example, on June 2, 2021, TSA screened nearly 1.6 million people throughout the U.S. compared to 304,436 travellers on the same day in 2020. Similarly, a new survey found that 92 per cent of Americans are poised to “travel with a vengeance” this year to make up for over a year of lost trips.[2]

Businesses can prepare for a greater resurgence of foot traffic by implementing strong cleaning and hygiene protocols.

Six steps to prepare for increased traffic

  1. Address high-touch surfaces. Facility managers may wish to determine priority areas and high-touch surfaces that need more attention than others. This is especially important for addressing flu viruses that can survive on some surface for up to two days.[3]
  2. Determine sanitizing and disinfecting procedures. Different areas may call for specific cleaning procedures depending on their location, traffic level, and purpose. Sanitizers can reduce germs to a safe level and usually do not need a rinse afterwards since the product can air-dry for 30 seconds.[4]. On the other hand, a broad-spectrum disinfectant applied with electrostatic sprayers can help provide greater surface coverage. It reduces the amount of time taken to clean and greatly improves the control and spread of viruses.[5] If you’re ever unsure of what to use and where, always remember to check product labels before use.
  3. Maintain floors with mats. Floors are the first thing customers notice when they walk in. Poorly maintained floors could result in a negative brand image and require an expensive floor replacement earlier than expected. Strategically placing mats at front entryways and throughout the facility can reduce the spread of dirt and debris. Proper mat maintenance is critical to ensure long-lasting effectiveness. Ignoring care lessens their ability to trap dirt and limit odours. Facility managers who wish to purchase their mats must clean and vacuum them regularly. However, taking mats outside to shake off excess dirt and dust is time-consuming. Receive clean, high-quality mats consistently by partnering with a qualified service professional that offers a mat rental program. Mats are professionally laundered on a regular basis to prevent an “inkpad” effect from a dirty mat. A qualified service professional provides freshly cleaned replacement mats while cleaning the dirty ones.
  4. Perform washroom deep cleaning. Washrooms are a point of concern for guests and staff, with 90 per cent of U.S. adults believing employers should deep clean workplace washrooms regularly to benefit the health and wellness of employees.[6] Facilities can conduct high-pressure cleaning to remove build-up from floors, toilets, urinals, partitions, and other washroom surfaces. After the high-pressure cleaning process, use vacuum extraction to remove the contaminants from the washroom, reducing the risk of cross-contamination and the growth of odour-causing bacteria. However, high-pressure equipment can be expensive and deep cleaning is a time-consuming process for employees. Outsourcing deep washroom cleaning can help employees save time with their daily cleaning tasks.
  5. Install touchless dispensers. To increase consumer and staff confidence, businesses may install touch-free soap, sanitizer, and paper towel dispensers to help reduce germs’ spread. Touchless paper towel dispensers are preferable to hot air dryers that spread 60 times more bacteria than warm dryers and 1,300 times more than paper towels.[7] Patrons can grab the door handle with a paper towel when exiting the washroom to avoid spreading germs onto freshly washed hands. Be sure to place trash receptacles near the exit door so users can discard the used paper towels to circumvent leaving trash in the facility.
  6. Keep supplies in stock. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions caused many essential items to become unavailable. Businesses needed to maintain a sizable inventory to ensure crucial supplies were always available. Unfortunately, this is not always possible without supplies taking up space or costing too much money. A rental services provider can help alleviate some of the stress and cost because supplies are predictable and delivered through a regularly scheduled maintenance program. Facility managers and cleaning professionals can focus on high-priority tasks because they don’t have to spend time managing inventory.

Supplies to consider include cleaning chemicals, washroom supplies, disinfecting and sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and PPE. Properly stocked washrooms are fundamental as a lack of washroom supplies is one of the most common customer complaints. Having PPE available can also help assure staff and customers that a business prioritizes health and safety.

Preparing for full capacity

If there’s anything the pandemic taught us, it’s that the public’s heightened awareness around cleaning is here to stay. Following best practices and implementing cleaning and hygiene protocols can help businesses prepare for increased visitor foot traffic this summer.

John Engel is the director of marketing for the Facility Services division of Cintas. John has more than 13 years of industry experience and is currently responsible for product line management and development. For more information about facility services offerings from Cintas, visit cintas.com/facilityservices.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/viral-gastroenteritis/expert-answers/stomach-flu/faq-20057899#:~:text=The%20viruses%20that%20cause%20gastroenteritis,food%20also%20can%20cause%20norovirus.

[2] https://press.priceline.com/worklifebalancesurvey/

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/resource-center/images/multi-language-pdfs/contamination_cleaning_english_508.pdf?web=1&wdLOR=c6F6475BC-194A-4F3E-BD95-2CAFF3776563

[4] https://restaurant.org/articles/news/clean-sanitize-disinfect-whats-the-difference

[5] https://info.waxie.com/blog/disinfectant-applicators-electrostatic-vs.-non-electrostatic-sprayer-devices

[6] https://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/Survey-Shows-Workers-Value-Restroom-Care–25246

[7] https://sfamjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jam.13014

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