By Mike Nemee, Executive Director at NEx Viro Disinfection Services (image - NEx Viro technicians conducting multi-phase CDC protocol disinfection at Sherwood Mall in Stockton California)
Even when officials say it’s safe to return will people believe it’s safe?
Soon we’re all going to get back to work. Restaurants will re-open. Stores that have survived the months-long quarantine will swing open their doors for business and there will be office banter between cubicles again.
But wanting these things – and even enacting legislation to make them happen – is not the same thing as making people feel it’s safe to be there.
So what will it take for workers to feel safe at work again? How will retailers and restaurateurs reassure a paranoid public that it truly is safe to spend their time and money outside the home again? Especially if, as some scientists have predicted, the coronavirus may ebb and flow over the remainder of the year, possibly requiring repeated shelter-at-home periods followed by looser limited interaction periods?
For business and building owners it’s not just about safety – but also liability
From a business owners perspective, this is not just a question of making your customers, tenants and workers feel safe; it may also be a question of liability if employees are asked to return to work and subsequently are infected with Covid-19. The question of liability when an employer asks workers to return has become a front-line issue on capital hill recently as states, businesses and the federal government all wrangle over what guidelines to put in place for a re-opening of the American economy.
In an environment where the federal government has backed away from issuing clear direction for reopening, state and local governments – and business owners – are creating their own criteria for deciding when and how to re-open. This will inevitably produce a legal grey area as some jurisdictions are more – or less – tolerant of public health risks in favor of limiting economic damage from the pandemic. So how can a business owner or building manager know how to safely re-open while also banking proof that they’ve done everything in their power to keep people safe in preparation for any future lawsuits that might happen?
The answer will likely involve proving you’ve done everything you can to keep people safe
Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together a series of documents guiding businesses in how different kinds of materials, surfaces and environments should be disinfected as part of a re-opening plan using EPA-approved disinfectants. This is a great starting point, but without some way to test an environment before and after disinfecting, it is difficult to know – or prove to others – that the environment truly is disinfected.
Additionally, there are still shortages of basic disinfection products throughout the country and even for building managers and employers who can access EPA-approved disinfectants, their janitorial staffs may not be able to effectively administer a full disinfection. Many disinfectants require specific dwell times to be fully effective; there are different kinds of disinfectants for different types of surfaces (textiles verus hard surfaces, etc.) and for hospital-grade disinfectants, workers need proper equipment to reach every corner and protect themselves from harmful toxic off-gassing which can lead to respiratory damage.
Introducing NEx Viro: hospital-grade disinfection based on CDC protocols with before and after testing
NEx Systems has now launched NEx Viro, with industry-leading technology to provide on-site before and after surface testing to prove a 99.9999% reduction in bio-contaminants, including viruses and bacteria.
Carefully modeled on the CDC’s guidelines and using only EPA-approved disinfectants, NEx technicians use advanced technologies like electrostatic sprayers (they electrically charge sprayed molecules so that they attach to surfaces even outside the spray path) and UV-C light sterilization in some environments to destroy airborne bio-contaminants and penetrate hard-to-reach corners and cracks.
With media attention shifting to state-wide re-openings of businesses, NEx Viro has already disinfected fitness studios, malls, schools, offices and restaurants in California. Facing an array of guidelines and requirements from the CDC, state and county-level health departments, savvy business owners and managers have sought out NEx Viro to provide hospital-grade disinfection services that will pass any level of regulatory compliance to avoid delays in re-opening as soon as their local governments allow.
(NEx Viro team disinfects Sherwood Mall. See more Case Studies here)
At the same time, even essential businesses like grocery stores who have remained open throughout the quarantine have subscribed to NEx Viro’s Rapid Response service. This has provided these businesses with 24-hour rapid response disinfection services in cases where an employee has tested positive for Covid-19 at any of their California locations, allowing them to remain open.
Will every business that wants to re-open be able to?
As California nears more wide-spread reopening though, NEx Viro is concerned that there won't be enough qualified technicians and specialized equipment to keep up with demand.
“The demand for our NEx Viro service has skyrocketed since we launched it in March,” reports NEx Systems CEO Keith Bewley.
“It’s great news for us, but as restrictions ease we expect demand for our disinfection services from businesses that want to re-open to exceed supply.”
NEx has been recommending to their long-term facilities maintenance clients that they book services far in advance of their re-opening dates to make certain they’re ready when government regulations catch up with pent-up consumer demand.
Want to know more?
Learn more about NEx Viro's services, CDC based protocol for hospital-grade disinfection and see video case studies from a variety of different types of businesses who have used NEx Viro here: https://www.nexsystems.com/nexviro