The lifting of lockdown restrictions has come as a welcome relief for most of us who are, quite frankly, fed up with being stuck at home. We eagerly look forward to visiting restaurants and pubs and spending some time with family and friends at the mall.

However, those of us who keep a close eye on the news have noticed with no small amount of trepidation that many countries in Europe are currently suffering a second wave of COVID-19 infections and have been forced back into lockdown. 

The United Kingdom, for example, has seen a steady and alarming surge in positive cases since July 2020, with the current spike sitting at the highest to date. 

Figure 1 Euronews.com

How can we protect ourselves while still enjoying our new-found freedom at the office or the mall?

Keeping Clear of COVID

There’s no doubt that the constant, regular sanitising of our hands and our personal spaces has had a major impact on the spread of COVID, as well as flu and the common cold. 

In fact, IOL says, “According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), which collects data from sentinel sites that track respiratory diseases around the country, flu cases usually start to rise sharply around mid-to-late April, but as of end-May, there was still little sign of it.”

So, we’re conditioned to wash and sanitise our hands, but we have very little control over the environment once we leave the house, right?

Actually, there are some simple tips and innovative tools which malls and other public spaces are making use of to keep these areas as safe and hygienic as possible. 

Combating escalator germs

We know that escalator handrails are a breeding ground of all sorts of bacteria and are listed as one of the “filthiest objects in a mall.” Yes, escalator bacteria is a major issue with no easy solution.

That is until you install the ClearWin steriliser

This unobtrusive little device is easily installed onto handrails and starts operating as soon as the escalator starts to move. The UV LED steriliser is activated, driven by the movement of the handrail (therefore requiring no additional power source) and blasts bacteria at close range as the handrail passes under its beam. The UV LED wavelength of 278nm wipes out 99.99% of germs by destroying their DNA.

As far as small, chemical-free, highly efficient devices go, this one is a clear winner.

Bathroom bacteria

There’s no getting away from public bathrooms once we’re out (especially with children) but it may surprise you to know where the germiest places in a bathroom are. Taps and soap dispensers are teeming with pathogens, which makes sense when you think that this is the go-to spot after using the bathroom facilities. 

Most malls and office parks have upped their game when it comes to hygiene, which is wonderful news for all of us. However, in the spirit of staying safe, make use of paper towels when you touch any surface in the bathroom, and be sure to sanitise your hands once you’re done. 

Restaurant and food court tables

The rags used to wipe down a table can, more often than not, just move the bacteria around a little. Busy waitrons do what they can to keep public tables clean, but these are still listed as one of the top five dirtiest places in a mall. 

A little packet of alcohol-based wet wipes in your bag will come in handy to disinfect the table before you sit down for your meal.

Staying Healthy

We know that we have a long way to go before we’re free from this pandemic and that we all need to do our part to stop the spread and stay safe.

However, aside from observing simple personal hygiene, those of us who are in a position to implement changes within public spaces such as eliminating escalator germs or maintaining more sanitary bathrooms should do so. 

Stay safe South Africa.