In April 2021, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) announced that the chances of catching COVID from surface contact was much less than initially suspected.

Can you catch Covid by touching surfaces?

While many of us feared that touching a surface that had come into contact with a person who had Covid could spread the disease, the CDC highlighted research showing that the chances of catching the disease in this way is around 1 in 10,000.

But is there still a chance of catching COVID…?

Yes there is a chance you could catch Covid by touching surfaces infected with the virus, but the chances (as the statistics show) are remote. When CDC revealed their findings, news channels across the UK featured retail and hospitality businesses that were taking extreme measures to wipe surfaces and follow processes.

These outlets were putting in a lot of work throughout the day to ensure that work and customer interfacing areas were fully cleansed at all times, but even without this effort, the chances of the disease spreading from those uncleansed surfaces is very unlikely, which raises the question, is constant cleaning of surfaces where Covid may lurk, really necessary?

Do we still need to disinfect thoroughly to protect us from COVID?

There are two sides to this question. Clearly, the evidence shows that thorough cleaning of tables and work surfaces every half hour or after every client isn’t going to prevent the spread of COVID,but it helps to reduce the spread of the virus even if the impact is less than we initially thought.

There is, however, a very strong argument for continuing to be vigilant in what we do.

Thorough and regular cleaning, no matter how small an impact, still makes a difference, and with a virus as deadly as COVID, every little bit of effort we can make helps.

Cleaning areas regularly also helps to reduce the spread of other bacteria and viruses that can have an impact on the health and well-being of staff and customers, and catching a cold or virus reduces our immune system which in turn can impact how our bodies react to COVID and other illnesses.

Send the RIGHT message!

Before you start putting the disinfectants back in the cleaner’s cupboard, consider the message that is being sent out to staff and customers if you stop cleaning your public areas, canteens, restaurants and reception areas so thoroughly.

Changing processes and cleaning less sends a message to staff that we don’t need to be so vigilant anymore. If you decide to cut back on cleaning standards, then it’s important to find other ways to reinforce the importance of taking precautions and not dropping your guard.

The message needs to be clear - COVID is still a risk and processes and government guidelines still need to be followed to reduce the risks.

Being a super-cleaning organisation also has an impact on the perception your customers have of you. If a customer knows that you have strict cleaning standards and sees you putting them into practice, then they are more likely to trust your brand, and will feel more comfortable using your facilities. This works in the same way for all your customers - including your internal customers, i.e., your staff.

Phrases such as COVID-friendly have become widespread in 2020 and 2021. Having a brand that says “we care about your safety” is the right approach.

Whether you continue with your current processes, make slight changes, or make big changes - make sure that you consider the message you are sending out to customers and staff - and consider supporting any changes with well thought out communications.

Soft facilities management consultants

Summary from our soft facilities management consultants

It’s up to each organisation and their dynamics to decide if they need to make changes to cleaning processes. It’s clear that any business that is spending thousands cleaning all day, every day can cut back a little, but any cutbacks on cleaning should be measured and proportionate.

Hotels, restaurants, cafes, and canteens should always pride themselves on providing the highest level of cleanliness. That should never change.


For more tips and advice, speak to our soft facilities management consultants here at Ramsay Todd and give us a call today on 01992 467 598.