These are startling times for your small business, especially if you run a retail store or restaurant. Concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are causing people across the country to avoid public spaces as much as possible and order the things they need online instead, if they order at all.
This pandemic is making daily headlines as new cases develop and additional information becomes available. In some areas, these developments are causing widespread panic. Large gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, and conventions are being postponed or even canceled. Air travel is being restricted and vacations abandoned in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Schools are closing for weeks on end, forcing parents to work from home or take extra time off work. While inconvenient, these measures are all being taken to protect as many people as possible from the coronavirus.
What measures should your business take to protect your employees and customers? In this post, we’ll share some tips for keeping your small business clean and safe for employees and customers alike.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Consistent Cleanliness
- How to Clean Your Credit Card Machine
- Other Ways to Slow the Spread of Germs
The Importance of Consistent Cleanliness
Keeping your store or restaurant consistently clean is important at any time. In fact, studies have shown that some customers may stop shopping at your store if they experience one or more of the following:
- Bad odors
- Dirty restrooms
- Dirty or dusty surfaces
- Poor entryway cleanliness
- Broken or dirty dressing rooms
Some customers will even avoid an establishment entirely if it looks dirty or unappealing from the outside. That means that your store or restaurant’s overall cleanliness directly affects your reputation, not to mention first impression. Click here for tips on keeping your retail store organized, inviting, and clear of clutter!
While you should consider investing in professional commercial cleaning services at any time of year, it is especially important to have your small business professionally cleaned right now. In addition to a weekly or bi-weekly deep clean, you’ll want to make sure to train your employees on disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly.
How to Clean Your Credit Card Machine
One of the most frequently touched items in your store is your credit card acceptance machine. Almost everyone who works in or visits your business will touch these machines at one point or another. If they’re not properly cleaned, germs can spread very quickly.
Here are some recommended steps to follow to properly clean your credit card machine(s):
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning your credit card machine for the first time. This is important because certain things, such as the type of cleaning product you use, can affect the warranty on your device.
- If the machine is plugged in to a power socket, unplug and turn it off (if possible) before you begin cleaning.
- Carefully rub the exterior of the machine with a wipe or cloth, one surface at a time, focusing on those high-touch areas. If any area appears too wet, wipe it immediately with a soft cloth or paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Use a soft, damp cloth for a general clean of the buttons and sides of the machine. Microfiber cloths are great, but any lint-free cloth will work. Mix a drop of dishwashing liquid in a small cup of warm water for a quick, inexpensive cleaning solution.
- To disinfect the machine, use disposable disinfectant wipes specifically designed for electronic devices or a soft cloth sprayed with an electronic disinfectant spray.
- To clean the card slot, use a ‘cleaning card’ designed specifically for card readers. This is an especially sensitive (and important!) part of the machine, so make sure you don’t introduce unnecessary moisture.
- Wash your hands or dispose of gloves when you are finished cleaning the machine.
How often you clean your devices depends on a few factors. Is your business a high-traffic store or perhaps a quick-service restaurant where customers pay at the counter? If so, you’ll want to clean the machines as frequently as possible, but at least once a day. Is there a current public health concern in your area? If so, you should encourage employees to clean the machines more often than usual, ideally between each customer. Even a quick disinfectant wipe on the buttons of the machine can be helpful.
Other Ways to Slow the Spread of Germs
The coronavirus pandemic may have you searching for even more ways to protect your customers and employees. Here are some additional measures you can take to stop germs in their tracks:
- Encourage employees to wash their hands as frequently as possible, especially after using the restroom and before eating.
- Place hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your business for employees and customers. Hands-free dispensers are best if possible. Encourage employees to sanitize their hands after working with a customer and especially after handling cash, checks, or credit cards.
- Encourage employees to stay home when sick, and to refrain from touching their face, eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Disinfect shared keyboards, order entry systems, or terminals before shift changes.
- Keep credit card machines behind the counter and ask customers if they can use a contactless credit card. If they can’t pay via contactless, pass the terminal to the customer for their chip and PIN and disinfect the machine before next use.
- Open outside doors and windows when possible to increase air circulation.
- Wipe down counters, door handles, fixtures, or other high-touch areas as often as possible.
- Always encourage employees to wear disposable gloves or wash their hands thoroughly after cleaning.
Making an extra effort to clean and disinfect your small business can help to slow the spread of any illness and put wary customers at ease. To stay updated about the spread of the current coronavirus (COVID-19), visit reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). These organizations provide the public with the most updated information related to all major health concerns and frequently share steps to help prevent illness.