How to Adopt Social Distancing Guidelines for Your Business

Although the fight against COVID-19 is not over yet, many businesses are starting to reopen their doors as some states scale back restrictions. Public health figures encourage the continuation of remote work where possible, but that’s not a feasible option for certain companies. Those who work in restaurants, retail stores, beauty salons, or other parts of the service industry have to return to their workplace to resume operations. Even some offices may need individual members present for important functions.

The bottom line is that, as more and more people get comfortable enough to venture into public spaces, businesses must ensure the safety of their patrons and workers by taking all of the necessary precautions, starting with social distancing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the best ways to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 is through social distancing. Social distancing requires all individuals to retain at least six feet of physical distance between themselves and others. The goal is to limit close contact with others, keeping yourself and, therefore, the public at large safe.

Although social distancing is crucial to workplace safety, it can also present challenges for those who are unsure of how to set up their businesses properly to comply with social distancing guidelines. We hope these tips act as a guide and provide you with a clearer picture of how to implement social distancing in your workplace.

  • LIMIT INDOOR CAPACITY: First and foremost, it’s important to understand that you cannot correctly carry out social distancing rules if you have a full house of clients and/or employees. You may have to limit indoor capacity, especially at the beginning stages of your reopening. This will allow you to perfect your safety procedures before allowing more people to visit.
  • REARRANGE SEATING & WORKSTATION AREAS: Move furniture as needed to ensure everyone has a six-foot radius of space around their area. This likely means less indoor seating and, if possible, moving outdoors. Another solution is to block off any areas that won’t be used; this way, you can safely distance people without dealing with the hassle of rearranging everything.
  • MARK WAITING LINES WITH FLOOR DECALS: Waiting lines can become a transmission area if people stand too close to each other. Ensure everyone follows social distancing rules by installing floor decals feet apart. One-way walking paths, indicated by floor decals, can also help minimize close contact.
  • INSTALL PLEXIGLASS PARTITIONS: For added security, install plexiglass partitions. These dividers work best in settings where people have to engage in face-to-face contact, such as retail cash registers, open-concept office areas, and restaurants.

Don’t forget: there are other precautions, besides social distancing, that you can follow to create a safe work environment.

Imperial Dade - Business Safety Precautions UPDATED

For more information on reopening guidelines or to buy the equipment and supplies needed to prepare your business to reopen, contact Imperial Dade today. For a location near you visit http://www.imperialdade.com.

Counterfeit Cleaning Products on the Rise During COVID-19

Hand sanitizers. Disinfectant wipes. Household chemical cleaners and so much more.

All of the different types of cleaning products that were readily available to consumers just a few short months ago are now nearly impossible to find at your local supermarket or wholesale stores. This shortage is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus that caused a worldwide panic also left a hole in the cleaning products supply chain, one that counterfeiters have taken advantage of by introducing poor quality products to the marketplace.

As COVID-19 intensified in early spring, shoppers flooded the stores in search of essential supplies and cleaned out all of the aisles of cleaning products and protective equipment. Commercial cleaning chemical demands also skyrocketed. With no supplies left in stores, fraudulent companies began marketing fake “brand-name” products on some online sites. These counterfeit cleaners are not tested and approved by trusted government sources, so they don’t actually “kill 99.99% of germs” like they claim to. Buyers who have been tricked into purchasing counterfeit products are still left exposed to bacteria, germs, and viruses.

On the other hand, genuine cleaning products are subject to vigorous testing by different government agencies, depending on their intended use. For example, disinfectants that claim to kill harmful bacteria are considered pesticides and, therefore, must register any active ingredients with the EPA and meet strict labeling requirements. Industrial general-purpose cleaners must also abide by the Hazardous Communication Standard and meet OSHA labeling requirements. Federal regulation ensures that chemical cleaners are not only safe to use, but also as effective as they claim to be.

 As a buyer of commercial or household chemicals, how can you identify between a genuine and fraudulent product?

Only purchase brand-name products from a reputable distributor or retailer. Make sure any disinfectants have an EPA registration number listed on the label. This number is proof that the product has been tested and approved by the EPA for use. If the label doesn’t carry a registration number, it may be counterfeit.

To make purchasing the right disinfectants easier for everyone, the EPA has created a simple online tool that identifies which disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. All you have to do is launch the application, found here, and input the initial two parts of the registration number. The program will display important information, including contact time and efficacy for emerging pathogens.

Once you have purchased an EPA-approved cleaner, make sure you’re using it correctly by following these steps:

Imperial Dade - Cleaning Instructions Updated 2

As always, if you have any questions regarding your cleaning products or techniques, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our chemical specialists at Imperial Dade. From Victoria Bay Peroxide Disinfectant Cleaner to Spin and Span Disinfecting All-Purpose Spray, we can help you find the best solution to stay safe. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation. For a location near you visit our website.

Warewashing, An Important Part of your Kitchen Sanitation Program

By Laura Craven

An effective warewashing program can ensure kitchenware cleanliness, enhance guest satisfaction, and save money. For this edition of The Expert Interview, I spoke to my colleague Angel Rodriguez. As a Regional Director of Chemical Sales at Imperial Dade, Angel oversees the Environmental Service Program. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Angel has a wealth of knowledge on the topic.

LC: What exactly is warewashing?

AR: Warewashing is the term associated with cleaning and sanitizing any kitchenware used in the preparation, serving, or storing of food. This would include pots and pans, cutlery, glasses, serving pans, and trays. Warewashing can be done by machine or manually. This process is a key factor in ensuring that a commercial kitchen provides a clean and safe dining experience for their customers.

LC: You mentioned cleaning and sanitizing. Can you explain the difference?

AR: Great question! Cleaning removes food and other debris from the surface of an item, such as a plate. Sanitizing is the next step. Sanitizing kills the microorganisms and germs on the cleaned surface, making it safe for food contact.

LC: I think we all have an understanding of manual warewashing. It’s what we do at home, correct?

AR: Yes, but in a commercial environment there are specific steps and regulations. At home you may wash a plate with retail detergent, dry it, and put it away. In a restaurant you must wash the plate with a commercial-grade detergent, rinse, and then sanitize in water that contains 200 parts per million of sanitizer. That last step is the one that causes the most challenges. For example, if the water is too hot, the sanitizer will not be maintained at the appropriate level.

LC: And if that happens, is the sanitizing step compromised?

AR: Yes, and if a health inspector performs a test, it will result in a violation. It is really important to have a proper 3-compartment sink system, use the correct products and follow procedures.

LC: Does using a dish machine make the process easier for the operator?

AR: Commercial dish machines require less labor and, especially in large establishments, are much more efficient than manual washing. But there are still procedures and maintenance that need to be performed.

AR: First, the operator must consider the best type of machine. There are many sizes and configuration ranging from a small under-counter model, which would be appropriate in a bar area or small café, to a large conveyor model used in a hotel. These machines operate at high or low temperatures. Low temperature machines are less expensive and more energy efficient, but require more chemicals. There are trade-offs that need to be analyzed.  Every situation is unique. This is why it is important for operators to work with an experienced supplier, one that will take the time to determine the best system for their needs.

LC: Okay, once the correct equipment is chosen and installed, what are the steps to make sure the program runs smoothly.

AR: Scheduled preventative maintenance is crucial. A technician will change chemical lines, squeeze tubes, and dilution tips to make sure that the proper amount of detergent and chemicals are being used by the machine. These items can wear out, and if neglected can shut down the system. This can cause a major halt to a kitchen while waiting for an emergency service call.

ID_ESP_restaurant

AR: Using the right detergents and chemicals for the machine type is another important factor. The warewashing system components operate together so substituting or leaving out products will cause problems, can result in health code violations, or worse, it can make people sick.

LC: Sounds like there is a lot more to a warewashing program than simply washing dishes.

AR: It is a very important process in a kitchen sanitation program, however when set up and maintained correctly, it will free up kitchen staff and managers to focus on their menu and their guests’ satisfaction.

LC: Thanks, Angel!

Angel Rodriguez, as well as Imperial Dade’s team of Chemical Managers, are available to consult with foodservice operators on warewashing systems. Angel can be reached at arodriguez@imperialdade.com.

 

Restaurants, Consider Switching to Linen-Replacement Napkins for a More Sanitary Option

By Laura Craven

Linen napkins have long been considered a necessity by many restaurants. However, with heightened concerns about sanitation, now is a good time to consider linen-replacements.

With the latest in paper-making technology, linen-replacement napkins are practical, economical, and can support an upscale brand image. Here are a few things to consider when choosing between linen and paper linen-replacement napkins.

Why Linen-replacement Napkins

  • Linen-replacement napkins are sanitary and require less handling before use by the guest.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are perfect for off-premise applications and can be included in upscale wrapped cutlery kits.
  • Good quality linen-replacement napkins are about $0.04 – $.0.06 each.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are available in many styles, sizes, colors, and patterns. They can also be printed and embossed to create branding opportunities for restaurants.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are very absorbent and soft. One napkin typically lasts an entire meal.

 

Why Not Linen Napkins

  • Linen napkin rentals can range from $0.75 on the low end to over $3 on the high end. Additional costs include pick-up and delivery fees, laundering, storage bags, and replacement for lost or damaged napkins.
  • Linen napkins are typically handled by many people between the time they are laundered, transported, folded or rolled, and placed on the dining table. This creates many opportunities for contamination.
  • Linen napkins are treated with chemicals during laundering, which reduce their absorbency over time and make them rough to the touch. This results in customers requesting additional napkins, often paper, to wipe their hands and clean up spills.
  • Linen napkins are stored in bags or totes after use along with food particles, grease, and other debris from the dining tables. This creates an unsanitary environment attracting insects and rodents.
  • Linen napkins are stored and laundered with other linen items including table cloths, uniforms, and towels all of which can introduce contaminants to the load.
  • Linen napkins have a higher carbon footprint than paper when you factor in fabric manufacturing, napkin manufacturing, continuous transportation, laundering, plastic wrapping, and ultimate disposal.

To learn more about the many linen-replacement options available, contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant. For a location near you, visit our website.

 

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.

 

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

To schedule a personal consultation, please contact us and we’ll have a representative respond as quickly as possible.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.

 

Once “stay-at-home” is over, do you have a “back-to-work” plan?

By Vickie Holland

Hopefully in the next few weeks the stay-at-home orders will be over and we can all get back to work. After months of working from home (WFH) employees will return to the office. As we make this transition, all employers will be faced with the same challenge: keeping their employees safe.

Employee safety should be the #1 priority when creating your “back-to-work” plan.  According to the National Safety Council (NSC), employees who feel safe in the workplace, both physically and mentally, are less likely to call out or quit. While there are many basic safety principles that should be considered, here are several to add to your plan.

Next Level Social Distancing

When we need to run to the grocery store to pick up our dinner, we know to keep our distance of 6 feet. This distance can be challenging in the workplace.  Designating foot traffic flow as “one way” in tighter offices will help keep employees from passing too closely.  Many offices have placed cubicles close together to save on space. Others have created an open concept plan with long bench desks with multiple employees designed to promote collaboration. To limit these tight quarters, relocate employees to work at every other desk or space.  If employees must share workspaces, providing disposable wipes for disinfecting before and after using a shared area or equipment (computer/phone/copier) will be needed.

Flexibility

Staggering work hours or workdays helps with distancing. You may want to consider having employees return in waves. Some employees may not be ready; showing flexibility will help create a safe workplace. Staggering lunch and break times will help limit exposure as well as limiting the number of chairs in break rooms, cafeterias, and conference rooms. Speaking of conference rooms, move meetings to video conferencing or ask the question “is this meeting even necessary?”

Checking in with Employees- “Welcome Back”

As employees return to work it is important for their supervisors to check on employee’s mental health. Maybe they were sick or cared for a sick relative? Perhaps they lost a loved one to COVID-19? Did they experience any anxiety or depression during the crisis? If your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), remind every employee this service is available to support them during these difficult times.

Professional Disinfectant Cleaning

It has never been more important to be a professional cleaner. The safety and health of everyone depends on the custodians. While it is important to do the basic cleaning it is important to increase the cleaning frequency of the high touch points (break room furniture, copiers, fax machines, doors, light switches, etc.). If you do not have a no-touch disinfectant (NTD) program in place, now is the time to incorporate this into your SOP.  Imperial Dade’s Sales Consultants are the experts on NTD as well as which products meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.  We can help you train returning custodians on new disinfecting procedures, products, and techniques.

 Touch-Free Workplace 

What areas in your workplace can be modified touch free? Lights, doors, wastebaskets, soap dispensers, towel dispensers, and automatic window shades are a few examples. What about voice activated systems instead of touch points (“Alexa, turn on the lights”)? Facial recognition instead of signing in? Sounds somewhat futuristic and costly but voice and facial recognition are quickly becoming the new normal.

 Reinforce Personal Protection and Safety

We are all in this together! Say goodbye to handshaking and hello to a simple yoga bow or wave. The CDC encourages prompting reminders of hand hygiene to employees with posters on best practices. Don’t forget when coughing to use tissues or cough into your sleeve. Other personal protection includes using cloth face covering, avoiding close contact, and not touching face/eyes.

Communicate these changes throughout your organization. Employees should be aware of the steps you have made to protect them from COVID-19.

Ask employees for feedback on these changes. Listen to suggestions. Employees often have creative solutions! They may have a fresh idea how you can go “touch free” in your organization.

For more information on Employee Safety, No Touch Disinfection or COVID-19 prevention in the workplace contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit www.imperialdade.com/locations to find a location near you.

Restaurant Reopening Guidelines

By Vickie Holland

On a Zoom call last weekend my friends were talking about what they miss most during the “Stay at Home” order. The #1 answer was going to a restaurant! Thankfully most of the restaurants in our area have pivoted to curbside pick-up but that doesn’t take the place of sitting down in a beautiful restaurant while someone brings you a plate of delicious grilled red snapper on a bed of quinoa topped with a tropical fruit salsa. Or an order of jerk chicken wings (flats only) well done.

Once the “Stay at Home” order has been lifted, is your restaurant ready for customers? The National Restaurant Association has published this handy comprehensive reopening guide to help you get ready. Take the time to read it carefully. In addition, Imperial Dade’s HyProtection Zone consultation is available. This complimentary service includes a site survey, product recommendations, and review of best practices addressing disinfection and hygiene.

Here are our 10 favorite reopening guidelines:

  1. Check in with all employees’ well-being. They may have lost a loved one or experienced anxiety, loneliness or depression during quarantine.
  2. Instruct sick employees to stay home. Prescreen employees on arrival for signs of COVID-19 by taking their temperature.
  3. Enforce strict hand hygiene. Prompt reminders with posters on best practices.
  4. Develop a strong SOP for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. Check that your disinfectant is EPA registered and appropriate for use against SARS-CoV-2.
  5. Train employees on the new, more detailed disinfecting and sanitizing practices.
  6. Follow the 4 steps of Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill
  7. Consider rolling silverware and eliminate table presets.
  8. Provide hand sanitizer for customers and employees.
  9. Use single-service gloves, deli tissue or suitable utensils.
  10. Consider a reservation only business model to better space diners.

Employees should be aware of the steps you have made to protect them from COVID-19. Ask employees for feedback on these changes and listen to suggestions. Employees often have creative solutions.

For more information on restaurant reopening guidelines, disinfectants, or COVID-19 prevention in the workplace contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit www.imperialdade.com/locations to find a location near you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 by Cleaning, Sanitizing, & Disinfecting Touchpoints & Other Surfaces

COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that has been devastating countries worldwide. Its most common symptoms include dry cough, high fever, and shortness of breath. As of this posting, all 50 states have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and many states, especially Washington, New York, and California, have been hard hit by a high number of deaths due to the virus and its side effects, primarily pneumonia.

While many organizations are having people work from home, it is imperative to continue to maintain facilities and keep all frequent touchpoints clean and disinfected as much as possible. The cleaning supplies, chemicals, and equipment available at Imperial Dade are necessary now more than ever to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Cleaning or Disinfecting? Know the Differences to Stay Healthy

When it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing surfaces, many people incorrectly believe that those terms and actions are interchangeable. While all three types of cleansing are effective and necessary, they have their specific uses and should not be treated as equally efficacious.

Cleaning

Cleaning is the first step to safe surfaces. It is, by definition, the removal of dirt, impurities, and some germs via soap and water or other surface cleaners. While cleaning surfaces with soap and water does reduce the number of germs on the surface and, thus, the risk of infection, remaining germs will continue to multiply.

Sanitizing

Another step for safer surfaces involves sanitizing. Sanitizing surfaces effectively reduces the number of harmful bacteria to safe levels according to most health standards and requirements. While sanitizing does kill approximately 99.99 percent of most types of bacteria, it does not kill or remove all viruses and fungi. In the current health climate, it is best to bypass surface sanitizers and head to the disinfectants after cleaning most surfaces.

Disinfecting

For the safest surfaces, use a disinfectant. Disinfecting surfaces involves using solutions that destroy or deactivate viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms after leaving the properly diluted solution on the surface for the stated dwell time, typically 10 minutes. Imperial Dade has many disinfecting solutions for commercial use, including Victoria Bay disinfectant sprays with EPA certifications and kill claims for emerging pathogens.

Common “Touchpoints” Requiring Cleaning & Disinfecting

As mentioned above, COVID-19 is a highly contagious and infectious disease, so surfaces used frequently by many people are considered high-risk touchpoints. The majority of individuals in the U.S. carrying COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning that they will not show symptoms but could still transmit the virus onto surfaces they have touched or on which their respiratory droplets (through coughing or sneezing) have landed.

Here are a few of the most common touch that should be disinfected in commercial and residential buildings:

ImperialDade_IG 

For more information regarding how to best prevent the spread of COVID-19, review Imperial Dade’s recent posts or contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit www.imperialdade.com/locations to find a location near you.

Grocery Shopping with Food Safety in Mind

By Laura Craven

Good food safety practices for your home include grocery shopping and safe storage of food. These steps will require extra time but they are worth following to ensure you only bring fresh, safe food into your kitchen.

  • Before you go to the store, make a list with the non-perishables first. If you know your store’s layout, organize the list by aisles and then list the perimeter departments with dairy and meat last.
  • Use cart wipes if available or bring your own and wipe all touch points including the handle and cup holder. If using a hand-basket, wipe the handles.
  • Check expiration dates or “packaged on” dates and select the freshest items available.
  • When selecting packaged produce, inspect the contents to ensure there is no mold. If the container is clear, be sure to check the bottom.
  • When selecting loose produce, avoid pieces with dents, bruises, or discolored spots. A tip to tell if fruit is fresh – a fresh piece of fruit will weigh more than a not-so-fresh piece.
  • The nose knows! If any food has a bad or unusual smell that is an indication of spoilage.
  • Pick up chilled or frozen items last and leave a corner of your cart available for meat. Don’t stack meat, fish, or poultry on top of other grocery items. This helps avoid cross-contamination.
  • Use a tissue or paper towel to open cooler doors or self-serve bins.
  • Reusable tote bags used to carry food can harbor bacteria. Opt for a clean grocery bag each time.
  • Use hand sanitizer after paying at check out and, once you are home, wash your hands before unloading your grocery bags.
  • Put perishable items in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • Store milk and eggs inside the refrigerator compartment, not in the door which is the warmest area.
  • Place meat, poultry, and fish in plastic bags to prevent leaks and store on a bottom shelf of your refrigerator or freezer. No need to rinse.
  • Rinse fruits and veggies under running water before storing.
  • Wipe off cans and cartons before storing. This includes the tops of cans, where you will puncture with a can opener, and the area around the opening of cartons.

This is part 3 in a series of blogs dedicated to sharing food-safety best practices for your home from your friends at Imperial Dade