Q&A of the Day – Are South Florida’s essential businesses sanitizing well?

Q&A of the Day – Are South Florida’s essential businesses sanitizing properly?

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Today’s entry: Brian, not to be a nuisance but I am seeing (a) lack of concern when it comes to proper virucide disinfecting at grocery stores. I spent a couple hours driving around and watching how Walmart, Publix,Target employees were preparing shopping carts for consumers to use in the stores. Not to even mention WinnDixie doing absolutely NOTHING. I was told by a client today that Costco in Boca had a service doing it correctly. 

What the big stores are doing is nothing close to proper disinfecting. They wipe 10-15 carts down from a bucket of "something" (nobody could tell me what chemical they were using one said it smelled like Ajax).

I know there are 100's of pest control companies in Florida capable, supplied, and ready to take on this service and do it correctly and safely to stop the spread in one of the few places we all NEED to go.

Bottom Line: It’s not my goal to provide cover for anyone or any company not properly following safety guidelines in today’s environment, but I think there might be a bit of misunderstanding of what’s been determined to be necessary and effective. First, here’s what the CDC’s current guidance regarding the transmission of the virus. 

Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites (objects). Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

This is consistent with what we’ve known for over a month at this point. Based on this information the most important preventative measure store employees can and should be taking is wearing a mask and ensuring customers are doing the same. If you don’t see employees wearing masks, that’s worth reporting to the store. Regarding the cleaning/disinfecting of surfaces – this is what the CDC has to say:

For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

Checking the EPA approved list and 370 products have been identified. I’m not sure how many cleaners are available in total, but it’s probably safe to say that whatever they’re using is one of them. From there the question is just a matter of if they’re following the instructions for the particular product. 

Again, my point isn’t to provide a pass if there is risky behavior taking place. I’m the person who has wipes on one side of me and hand sanitizer on the other normally – not because of the coronavirus. I also understand where you’re coming from having a professional understanding of contagions from owning and operating a food service business. I took the extra step of becoming Serve Safe certified (that’s what converted me to becoming a borderline germaphobe). This is about establishing the facts and going where they take us. In this case, there’s not a specifically identified need by the CDC for a professional disinfecting process – though kudos to any which are so diligent. One other note. I strongly encourage using grocery delivery to avoid the concern altogether. I’d never done it before all of this. I’ve now used it four times from two separate companies and they’ve been great experiences. If you don’t have delivery options direct to your home, use the curbside pickup option. Publix has been setting aside designated parking spaces for just this purpose. In addition to stores operating in a safe way, we can shop in a safer way as well. 

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