The New Normal

Robert Kravitz looks at the hard-hit hospitality industry, and what can be done to help them weather new cleaning processes.

The hospitality industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus, and only some segments of the industry may get the green light to open this summer.

While many pubs and restaurants are quite successful, both financially and in terms of popularity, others are family operations with limited budgets. A few bad months is all it may take for them to close forever. Some experts have concluded that many food service establishments, unfortunately, won't make it.

However, those that do will be facing a ‘new normal’. For instance, there may be limitations on how many people can be in a facility at once. Some restaurants are also considering the installation of plexiglass screens between and around tables. These measures help ensure the health and safety of patrons and servers. Further, in China, it’s now common for both staff and patrons to undergo temperature checks before being allowed in.

We can expect more changes like this in the hospitality industry. However, one of the most significant changes will involve cleaning.

Marc Ferguson, Vice President of Global Sales for Kaivac, developers of the No-Touch Cleaning and OmniFlex Crossover Cleaning systems, said: "Restaurants are going to need to build public confidence that people can venture out again, feel safe, and feel comfortable in their establishments. Trust and safety are going to be imperative, and this is where cleaning will play a crucial role."

To better understand the role cleaning will play in this new normal, let's look at how we have traditionally defined cleaning. Usually, it has been described as the ‘removal of soils’, according to Ferguson. But post-COVID, cleaning has taken on a much more expansive meaning – ‘the removal of soils, pathogens, and contaminants to help prevent the spread of infection’.

For most cleaning tasks, this extra component adds an entirely new dimension. Ferguson added: "We must transition custodial workers from using traditional cleaning practices that spread soils, such as mops or cleaning cloths, to best practice solutions that 'float' soils for quick, effective removal."

He uses a carpet extractor as an example. The extractor's wand injects cleaning solution directly into carpet fibres, helping to loosen or lift soils and pathogens away from carpet fibres. Using the wand, the machine then extracts these soils and contaminants, along with moisture, out of the carpet.


For cleaning hard surface floors, ‘univac’ floor machines operate on a similar principle. As the unit is walked over the floor, it dispenses cleaning solution that’s worked into the surface using a handheld speed scrubber. Further, on at least one system, a brush is attached to the wand to scrub grout areas and free soils from the surface. The wand also vacuums-up the cleaning solution, soils, pathogens, and contaminants.

Ferguson continued: "In both examples, we are accomplishing three things. First, we are not spreading soils. In the new normal, that will no longer be acceptable. Second, we are releasing soils from floor surfaces so they can be completely removed. Finally, the result is not just cleaner but also healthier floors because we have removed contaminants that can spread infection.”

But what does this mean for the patron of a restaurant or, for that matter, a member of its staff? In other words, how does this type of cleaning build trust?

According to Ferguson, confidence in the effectiveness of cleaning processes will be accomplished through ATP systems. While these systems are not infallible, a low ATP reading invariably indicates surfaces are clean and healthy. A high reading, on the other hand, suggests the presence of pathogens that could potentially cause a serious health problem.

To build trust and safety, and help pubs and restaurants come back to life, Ferguson concluded: "We are going to need cleaning methods and systems that more effectively remove soils and allow us to prove it. Verification will be the name of the game going forward.”

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