Articles on cleaning your retail space and fixtures in general are pretty prevalent.  In this time of returning to business after the long “stay at home” order you may have seen more articles and more advice on which retailers to shop just by observing cleanliness procedures. One such article says you know you’re in trouble if the store doesn’t have stickers or markings on the ground to indicate where the next person should stand for social distancing.  Really?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend your valuable time and money on cleaning things you can control instead of purchasing nice stickers and measuring six feet increments that people won’t heed?  Even though there may be marks on the sidewalk and in the checkout lines to indicate the six-feet mark, you can’t make people stand on the line.  What you can do is assure your customers that you are giving your best effort to keep areas clean.  It is important to reassure employees, customers and friends that you have not only taken the necessary precautions for cleaning and disinfecting, but you’ve gone above and beyond them.

Adhering to state guidelines for cleanliness is the first step.  After that, a common-sense cleaning plan with good employee communication for implementing it is in order.  Empowering employees to use their good judgment and err on the side of conservative is also part of the successful commitment to clean.

Here are a dozen tips for efficiently and safely keeping your retail space clean:

  1. Start with overall rules for employees and customers. The things everyone has to do in any work or social situation should be communicated again:
    • Social distancing
    • Masking
    • Self- monitoring for symptoms
    • Keep hands clean and away from face
    • Stay home when sick
  2. Work with your warehouse on incoming inventory shipments to make sure drivers and delivery persons follow the guidelines for truck and commercial transportation posted on the Maryland State website. This grid takes into consideration the spread of the virus through travel and shipping.  Modify the way you receive shipments by wiping down containers when they arrive, and by having the fewest amount of touches possible before it gets to the shelf.
  3. Even if you have a mall or a personal cleaning crew that cleans after hours, you should identify a staff cleaning crew responsible for the over and above cleanliness you are going to implement. While employees should each be responsible for their own workspaces, you should also have designated cleaning people who will complete task logs to make sure nothing is missed.  Cash registers, credit card machines, telephones and counters should be wiped and disinfected hourly.  Provide PPE for all of these people and encourage their use.
  4. If you ‘re still taking cash as payment, try providing gloves for the cashiers so they don’t have to touch money. If the associate behind the counter is closer than six feet from the in-line customer as they check out, install a plexiglass shield to limit exposure to virus droplets.
  5. Implement your usual cleaning routine – times 10. That means 10 times more frequently and 10 times stronger.  Wipe down surfaces and disinfect high traffic areas three to four times a day.  The more people exposed to a surface or site, the more you should clean it.   Rest rooms also should be cleaned and sanitized after each shift.
  6. Keep workstations clean daily with anti-bacterial solution. Wipe off the top germ-hoarders such as computer mouse, keyboard, computer screen, filing cabinets, cell phone and land line phone.  Scrub these areas down a few times a week for good deep cleaning.
  7. Wipe down dusty areas both in the work area and in the storage areas. After sitting for three months with no movement, most of your inventory boxes will have a layer of dust on them.  Wipe it carefully and keep your eye out for more boxes that come from the back.
  8. Reorganize your back room and your front-end inventory. If you have inventory that you need to move, place it in a bin or on a shelf near the check-out area for impulse purchases while customers are waiting in line to pay.
  9. Wipe down break rooms, sinks, countertops and cabinets. Wipe employee tables and chairs.
  10. Clean shelving in storage rooms and tops and sides of counters and cabinets. Clean and shine glass cases on the sales floor until they sparkle – especially those with fingerprints on them. Keeping these counters germ-free will pay off for you and your guests.
  11. Clean and sanitize store floors. Use your floor scrubber with extra disinfectant or your vacuum cleaner with a sanitizing setting.
  12. Pay special attention to door frames, door knobs and handles. These should be sanitized regularly throughout the day.

In general, wash hands, wash hands, wash hands!