Cleaning and disinfecting a retail space has always been important, but not nearly as important as it is today. Especially with the new Delta Variant threatening new lockdowns in some areas. Many retail stores were forced to be closed for months at a time during the beginning of the pandemic, and some closed for good. Some businesses have had to close again temporarily because of small outbreaks within their employees. There are so many hot touchpoints that employees and building porters need to focus on in retail buildings. In order to keep your tenants and their employees and customers safe, we are going to cover areas of focus for touchpoint cleaning in retail buildings.
What is a touchpoint?
Touchpoints are those high-traffic areas in and around your building that get touched repeatedly throughout the day, or even the hour. They can include things like door knobs and handles, stair railings, elevator buttons, escalator hand belts, light switches, payment kiosks, etc. These areas can become a breeding ground for germs, so it’s crucial to keep them not only physically clean, but sanitized.
Touchpoint Cleaning In Retail Buildings
Entering the Building
Let’s start at the entry door to your building and work our way inside. The first touchpoint when entering a building is the door. This includes the door knob or handle, as well as the frame of the door where people may push it open. There are a few ways of handling this highly-used area. First, you could place automatic hand sanitizer stations at the door to encourage clean hands before the patrons touch the door. You can also make sure that the doors get cleaned on a regular basis, maybe once an hour or every few hours.
Since neither of these techniques are failure-proof, consider NanoSeptic self-cleaning technology. There are several options available, so you should be able to find one that will work for you. Powered by light, NanoSeptic surfaces utilize mineral nano-crystals which create a powerful oxidation reaction. There are zero chemicals, and nothing transfers from the skin or pad to the person who touches it. As long as there’s light, it’s immediately disinfecting the surface!
Escalators & Elevators
If your retail building has stairs or escalators, you need to ensure their cleanness, too. NanoSeptic offers solutions for stair rails, too, but what about those escalator handrails? KONE Spares offers an ultraviolet sanitizer that will fit over your existing escalator belts! They are very easy to install yourself, and will help lower the risk of a customer falling because they don’t want to touch the rail. Win win!
Elevators are next on the list. Elevator doors should be wiped down with disinfectant as often as needed, based on foot traffic. More importantly, however, are the elevator buttons. There are removable elevator button covers available that use the same nanotechnology we discussed above. They are self-cleaning and typically last up to 90 days in a normal-traffic situation. Contact your elevator maintenance technician to see if they have them in-stock, or you can purchase them yourself. They’re peel and stick!
The last public item is water fountains. These need to be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant at least once a day, or more if you see a lot of use. Disinfect the mouthpiece, as well as all buttons. We also recommend placing a paper cup dispenser next to the water fountain to discourage drinking out of the fountain itself. You could even remove the water fountain altogether. You can replace the fountain with an automatic EZH2O bottle-filling station so that there is no repetitive hand-touching of the appliance.
Touchpoints In Customer-Specific Areas
Carts & Fitting Rooms
Getting your tenants’ customers to feel safe enough to shop in your retail building is obviously the goal. So many people have felt scared or unsure about going out and about for so long, so giving them that piece of mind is so important. Shopping carts and baskets are two of the most-touched items in retail locations like grocery stores, convenience stores, and health and beauty stores. The sanitizing of carts and baskets is so important for making sure that your tenants’ patrons feel safe shopping in their stores. That task can seem daunting during high-traffic periods, though. Perhaps you can request that your tenants create a cleaning plan for these high-traffic areas. Utilizing sprays or NanoSeptic cart handle covers would be ideal in this situation.
Another high-traffic area specifically in a clothing store setting is fitting rooms. Some stores are still not opening them to their customers, but if your tenants have that option, make sure they keep them disinfected! This will include door handles/knobs, locks, the doors themselves, clothing hooks, seating in the rooms, and even the mirrors. It would be ideal for each room to be disinfected after each customer leaves. Having an automatic hand sanitizing station at the entrance of the fitting room area would also be a great idea. Communicate any and all local guidelines regarding fitting rooms to your tenants on an urgent basis.
Whether the tenants in your building offer public restrooms or not, you need to make sure your tenants are keeping themselves and their employees and customers safe from the transfer of germs. Touchpoints for them to keep on top of in any available restrooms include toilet seats and handles, doors and door knobs, locks, light switches, faucets, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, and toilet paper dispensers. If there are cabinets or drawers in the restrooms, the handles and doors need to be sanitized, too.
Touchpoint Cleaning In Employee Areas
Touchpoints At Customer Service & In Stock Room
Next we will move into the spaces occupied mostly by the employees. This includes the customer service areas and stock room. If possible, suggest your tenants’ employees have one computer or iPad per employee so that they aren’t sharing throughout the shifts. They should be sanitized with disinfectant spray, disinfectant wipes, or with a microfiber cloth/disinfectant combination at the end of each shift, or more often if they do have to be shared. Other things that should be included are payment kiosks, keyboards and mice, touchscreen monitors, countertops, phones, pens or other writing instruments, cabinet and drawer handles, other hand-held devices used in the stock room, etc. Avoid sharing these items or utilize nanotechnology when possible. If that is not feasible, ensure they are disinfected on a very regular basis.
Break rooms are obviously shared among employees, and there are a lot of items that can become touchpoints. Items to keep sanitized in break rooms include the doors and handles, light switches, appliance handles and doors, faucets, countertops, and tables and chairs. Keeping your tenants’ employees healthy is paramount for keeping your doors open! They should not only focus on their customers. Make sure that your tenants are keeping any employee-shared areas sanitized, too!
There are a lot of other ways that technology is beneficial in helping fight Covid-19 and the Delta variant. Encourage your tenants to offer (and use!) apps that allow and encourage a contactless shopping experience. Many businesses are now offering apps that let their customers pre-order their purchases. This cuts back on time spent in line with other people. Starbucks is a great example of this. Their app allows you to place your order ahead of time, then pick it up at the drive thru, inside the dining room, or curbside. Another great option is DoorDash and Instacart. These companies allow you to order food from restaurants or grocery stores and have it delivered to your home! Lastly, related to property owners, work order apps such as the REAME app allows tenants to monitor and plan for vendors or maintenance to enter their homes.
While it is exciting for more and more stores to be opening back up to the public, it’s so important to keep things disinfected so that both your customers and employees stay healthy and able to continue coming back. If you’d like help setting up a touchpoint cleaning plan for your building, feel free to contact Melan Property Management! We’d love to help you!