As of March 11th, 2020, the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic in the United States. The rise of COVID-19 has led to an influx of panic buying which, in turn, has left more people exposed. Several places are closing up, but retail workers (grocery stores and pharmacies in particular) are likely to stay open. How can we as employees protect ourselves from the novel Corona Virus when we are constantly exposed to germs? Read on for three tips on how to protect yourself as a retail worker.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Hand washing is an absolute must. The CDC recommends cleaning your hands with soap and water warm for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing is highly recommended if you are coughing or sneezing. Regular hand washing can sometimes be hard for a cashier to achieve, especially if your store is busy. If you can’t get away for a thorough hand washing, the CDC recommends a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Practicing good hygiene is not only beneficial for you, but for your co-workers and every single customer, you come in contact with! While this isn’t related to handwashing, I want to take a moment to remind everyone to sneeze or cough into your elbow!
CLEAN YOUR WORKSPACE OFTEN
While the CDC recommends avoiding coming into contact with “high-touch” surfaces, it’s sort of inevitable when working in retail. At my store, we have a can of disinfecting spray for each register. After a rush of customers, I spray the counter, the pin pad and the keyboard on my register. It’s a quick way to minimize the number of germs residing in my space. Try to clean your space as often and as efficiently as possible. One thing to push for in your workplace is an employee-only bottle of hand sanitizer. If you must touch something that is likely germy (and you cannot sanitize) the CDC recommends using your sleeve or tissue in lieu of your hand. If you must use your hand, wash or use hand sanitizer after.
DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
With all of the germs (COVID-19 or otherwise) you are exposed to in retail, it’s a wise idea to keep your hands off your face. Your eyes, nose, and mouth are all entry points for a virus. If you touch your face with dirty hands, you are very likely to contract whatever type of illness may be resting on your hands. If you must touch your face, you are strongly advised to partake in a soapy, 20-second hand-washing first. This is an important step to take in avoiding getting yourself ill!
While COVID-19 isn’t deadly in all cases, it is a new, incurable (for now) strain of coronavirus. Take care of yourself and your workplace to help prevent the spread and protect those among us who are at risk.
PS: Please stop buying so much toilet paper!!
Written by Annie Harley.
All information is credited to the CDC.