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CDC: Reopening Guidance – Disinfecting Workplaces, Businesses, and Schools

June 14, 2020

CDC: Reopening Guidance – Disinfecting Workplaces, Businesses, and Schools

The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance to help employers in making decisions regarding reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan focuses on cleaning and disinfecting:

  • Public spaces
  • Workplaces
  • Businesses
  • Schools

The EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Each product has been shown to be effective against viruses that are harder to kill than viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.

CDC’s document provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. The framework is based on doing the following:

  • Normal routine cleaning: with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
  • Disinfection: using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.

 

CDC’s Reminders about Coronaviruses and Reducing the Risk of Exposure:

  • Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects.
  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.
  • Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, you can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
  • Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label. Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together–this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
  • Do not overuse or stockpile disinfectants or other supplies.  This can result in shortages of appropriate products for others to use in critical situations.
  • Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be needed based on setting and product.
  • Practice social distancing, wear facial coverings, and follow proper prevention hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and using alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
cleaning a door handle

Touch Points

Evaluate your workplace, school, home, or business to determine what kinds of surfaces and materials make up that area. Most surfaces and objects will just need normal routine cleaning. Frequently touched surfaces and objects like light switches and doorknobs will need to be cleaned and then disinfected to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects.

  • First: clean the surface or object with soap and water.
  • Second: disinfect using an EPA-approved disinfectant.

Examples of frequently touched surfaces and objects that will need routine disinfection following reopening are:

  • tables
  • doorknobs
  • light switches
  • countertops
  • handles
  • desks
  • phones
  • keyboards
  • toilets
  • faucets and sinks
  • gas pump handles
  • touch screens, and
  • ATM machines

Each business or facility will have different surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by multiple people. Appropriately disinfect these surfaces and objects.

Consider the resources and equipment needed

Keep in mind the availability of cleaning and disinfection products and appropriate PPE. Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Follow the directions on the disinfectant label for additional PPE needs.

Continue routine cleaning and disinfecting

Routine cleaning and disinfecting are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water alone can reduce risk of exposure and is a necessary step before you disinfect dirty surfaces.

Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, desks, phones, light switches, and faucets, should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use. For example, certain surfaces and objects in public spaces, such as shopping carts and point of sale keypads, should be cleaned and disinfected before each use.