The coronavirus pandemic brought with it a heightened awareness of the everyday risks of infection and of viral transmission. The rollout of vaccination programmes will hopefully minimise the future impact that coronavirus has globally, but the general public are more aware of threat than ever before.
While vaccines are effective at providing mass immunisation against serious forms of viral infections, they do not prevent transmission and it remains unknown whether current vaccines will be effective against future mutations of viruses.
In truth, we are likely to experience some form of heightened prevention measures for years to come from social distancing to the increased presence of sanitisation in public places.
While we’re being told the door is “not shut” on international travel for this year, staycations are being encouraged as the debate about vaccine passports rolls on. Many continue to be apprehensive about re-immersing into “the old normal”, despite the videos you may have seen of the queues outside your local pubs and Primarks at midnight.
We’re all familiar with the current sanitisation methods in place. Sanitise your hands and wipe down your trolley or watching on as the waiting staff decontaminate your table between visitors. But is it enough? Can any more be done to increase protection? Or to take the burden off everyday staff?
As we move further out of the pandemic, risk will remain high but public adherence to these practices could begin to waiver. Particularly with things like mask wearing once it’s no longer mandatory.
Some shared public areas should all be covered with increased protection. Door handles, shared facilities like toilets, cash machines and elevators, store furniture, accessibility rails etc. What about specific uses?
These are some of the industries that could do more:
Retail: Food and Fashion
While we’ve become familiar with the sanitisation systems experienced in retail environments, the landscape is constantly changing.
We’ve begun to see the introduction of antimicrobial shopping trolley handles in some supermarket chains and while that’s a great place to start, it doesn’t go far enough. The protection currently in use uses slow reacting silver technology and can take 20 minutes to an hour to self-sanitise. Technology like CodiKoat eradicates virus particles in seconds - much more suitable for the hustle and bustle of the supermarket.
While trollies are less common in fashion retail, hand baskets, clothes rails and hangers still present risk. We may still be some time away from being able to try on clothes in-store, but coating hangers, changing rooms and clothes rails may help realise that dream soon.
Hospitality: Restaurants, Pubs, Bars
The hospitality industry has been amongst the hardest hit by restrictions, despite the incredible effort made across the board to create a safe, welcoming environment.
Current measures include sanitisation stations, one-way systems and rapid cleaning of tables in between bookings. These put particular strain on staff and resources in an already high-stress environment.
Coating table tops, bars and shared facilities like beer taps and fridge handles could help improve safety for staff and customers alike. Implementing these changes could also reduce the resources required for constant upkeep from an industry already operating with fine margins.
The introduction of antiviral face masks like the CodiKoat VIRUFAB masks could also help keep staff safe while those restrictions are in place.
No - not your spare room or living room table. Real shared offices with potentially hundreds of staff from different backgrounds and locations moving freely each and every day. Flexible working might be here to stay but some businesses need shared offices to survive.
Practices like hot-desking don’t need to be a thing of the past if work stations are regularly self-sanitised. Desktops, office chairs, landline phones and computing equipment can all be coated to help increase protection and return office working back to some level of normality.
I’m sure you’ve read the story that your phone screen or your laptop keyboard has more bacteria than a toilet seat. In truth - you likely clean your toilet a lot more than you do your phone or laptop.
So what can be done to help improve hygiene and safety for these products? Adding our antiviral coating will not only eradicate virus particles but also increase the overall cleanliness of electronic products by adding a durable, antimicrobial layer to the surfaces that have the most traffic.
Uses could include personal mobile phones and tablets, keyboards, shared devices in offices like computer hardware and printers, landline phones and more.
While travel is likely to be one of the last things to return to “normal” levels, we can begin to put practices in place to make the whole process safer.
Public and private hire transport both typically see a high turnover of customers, with little time in between for a full sanitisation.
The best solution here is applying a self-sanitising coating that deactivates harmful virus particles in seconds - like CodiKoat. The coating can be applied to highly touched surfaces like seating, handrails, ticket barriers, airport security trays and more.
The high turnover means a robust solution is needed - thankfully CodiKoat is capable of lasting a products entire lifetime without a drop in performance.
Again, the introduction of antiviral masks like VIRUFAB will help keep staff safe while risks are still heightened.
Health & Social Care
Healthcare facilities have perhaps the highest risks of infection and viral transmission but also the strongest facilities and practices in place to minimise them. The approaches used here are tried and trusted, but can always be improved.
As CodiKoat antiviral coating can be applied to any surface, the opportunities here are vast. Coating could be incorporated into patients’ bedding and gowns, clinical furniture and equipment, treatment rooms, as well as for masks and other PPE. The global cost of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) is in the tens of billions and if that could be reduced, valuable resources can be refocused where they’re needed most.
Lastly, while staff and patients become familiar with the daily hygiene practices in-play, visitors pose a significant risk. Adding antiviral technology to shared facilities like waiting rooms, visitor centres and communal areas could reduce the opportunities for transmission from external sources.
Entertainment venues like theatres, cinemas and concert arenas can all benefit from the same technology. Seating, shared surfaces, hand rails could be added to the existing sanitisation stations & hygiene procedures in place. Even the little shovel for the pick & mix selection could be coated to protect anyone with a sweet tooth like mine!
Personal Health - Gyms, Spas
Gyms are reopening around the country and people understandably can’t wait to get back to training. The risks here come with shared gym machinery - particularly with increased respiratory action due to the activity involved (not to mention increased perspiration).
Alongside good ventilation, applying the coating to weights, fitness machines, matts and shared surfaces can all help fight viral transmission as we try to shift the lockdown weight.
Plan for the future
We’ve seen reports that some coronaviruses can last on surfaces for hours, possibly even days. As COVID-19 continues to mutate and new variants are discovered, this type of development can’t be ruled out.
Industries need to try to incorporate new, robust, future-proof solutions that will allow them to protect customers, staff and their own interests. When the option to reduce the risk of transmission is so clear and in our case, cost effective, it should be impossible to ignore.