Tips and Advice for Sanitizing Office + Retail Spaces

Jun 15, 2020

Sanitization has always been an essential component of running a successful business. However, it has never been as critical as it is now. If you operate a retail space, you play a crucial role in keeping the public safe and helping control the spread of COVID-19. Even if you don’t operate a retail space a lot of these tips and advice could also apply to a commercial building or office space.

Keeping a retail space sanitized is no easy feat. You have to battle constant foot traffic while enforcing safe social distancing, while also making time to sanitize frequently touched surfaces. It can be overwhelming. 

However, with a few tips, keeping your retail space sanitized and safe is possible. 

Tip #1: Prepare Your Space

If you’re already open at partial capacity, making changes can be difficult. However, it’s essential to make some alterations to your retail space to make safety and sanitization easier on a daily basis. 

Start by eliminating as many unsafe processes as possible. Consider removing cash payments and moving the card machine behind the register so that only employees touch the machine. 

Get rid of any self-service stations at food retail spaces, and in retail clothing stores, consider closing the dressing rooms. 

If you operate a food retail space, remove some of the tables so that there’s plenty of space for patrons and staff to move around safely. 

Consider replacing hard-to-clean tables and counters with white solid surface counters, instead. Materials like wood absorb bacteria and require special cleaning products. So, switching to a more friendly alternative will make disinfecting and cleaning more straightforward. 

Tip #2: Create a Procedure 

Every retail store has to find a procedure that works for them. Some stores are closing early to do a deep clean every day. Others are setting out time throughout the day to disinfect.

The best solution is likely a combination of the two approaches. It’s ideal to disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout the day. However, it’s also critical to deep clean every surface regularly. 

Create a schedule for you and your employees to follow that will keep you and your customers safe. 

Tip #3: Follow Best-Practices 

When it comes to sanitizing, follow the CDC guidelines for best practices. These include: 

  • Wear disposable masks, gloves, and gowns to protect yourself while cleaning. 
  • Wash your hands regularly while cleaning and throughout the day. Use warm water and soap and wash for at least twenty seconds. 
  • Clean surfaces with soap and water first. Then, use an EPA registered disinfectant or diluted bleach solution to disinfect. 
  • Clean and regularly disinfect, paying particular attention to high-touch areas like light switches, toilets, handles, and more. 

Continue to check the news and local government updates for additional information on best practices.

Tip #4: Enforce the Policies 

Once your cleaning procedures are in place, you must enforce them. Train all your employees and let them know very clearly what you expect of them. Hold them accountable. 

You also have to enforce safety procedures with your customers, too. If you decide to change up policies, enforce mask-wearing, or otherwise change the process in some way, you have to make sure that your customers follow the rules. 

While you might get pushback and lose a few sales, nothing would be worse than being the next hotspot for an outbreak. That sort of label would be hard to eliminate and would lose you much more money in the long run than a few upset customers will. 

Tip #5: Prepare for The Worst 

If you follow the above sanitation tips, you’re setting yourself up for success. However, you can’t control everything that happens in your retail space. Unfortunately, this virus still has some unknowns. Plus, since silent carriers can spread the virus without showing any signs, there’s always a risk of exposure.

You can do all the correct things, and still end up with a case. So, the best thing to do is to prepare for that just in case. 

Take time sealing doors and windows throughout your space. That way, if there is exposure, you can limit the spread from space to space.  While experts don’t believe that the virus is airborne, you need to be able to combat and sanitize without the threat of additional exposure. 

Should someone catch COVID-19, close off the entire area for at least twenty-four hours before going in to sanitize. 

Anyone who sanitizes must be wearing PPE to ensure safety. Unlike daily cleaning routines, where high touch areas are the primary focus, in the case of an outbreak, you’ll want to deep clean every inch of your space. 

Allow any employees who were exposed to take at least seven days off work. If they don’t exhibit any symptoms, they can return. 

Increase your cleaning procedures moving forward to mitigate the risk or re-exposure. 

Keep Your Customers Safe with Proper Sanitization  

Keeping your customers and employees safe is a heavy burden. However, if you follow the tips and advice above, you’ll ensure that you’re doing all you can to keep everyone safe. Keep up with the latest updates from health officials and adjust when necessary. 


Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.

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