By Bridget Brazie, Special AFS Contributor

As the Coronavirus pandemic wages on, cleaning and disinfecting efforts have intensified to the point where some are considered "hygiene theater."

What is hygiene theater exactly?

It's an overwhelming response to cleaning and disinfecting that serves more to placate than actually produce effective results. Think workers being sprayed in a "disinfection tunnel" or robots applying powerful disinfectant to surfaces. While these efforts do help to make the public feel better, this all-out war on germs preys more on soothing anxieties than it does on combating germs and pathogens.

How to move beyond hygiene theater?

To move beyond hygiene theater, there needs to be a focus on three key areas to create a new ‘culture of clean’: education, observation, and communication.

On the educational side of things, your staff or janitorial staff should know the proper cleaning protocols, tools, and when to employ them. AFS partner, Zogics has developed several Clean Guides to help determine what's needed in different facilities, including fitness facilities. Each guide takes you room-by room and step-by-step, focusing on surfaces, air quality, and hand hygiene.

Moving on to observation: it's important to not hide your cleaning staff away, only doing cleaning at night or when spaces are empty. Let your members see their spaces being cleaned and disinfected properly, and this will help encourage the same efforts on your members’ part.

A tip: have disinfecting wipes in common areas like cardio rooms and weight rooms. This will encourage both staff and member participation in ongoing efforts in the new culture of clean.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is communication. Probably the single most important thing you can do to establish a culture of clean is to let people know you're cleaning. For the most part, this has been regulated to restroom cleaning, but it's time to move beyond the restroom.

Signage front and center that your space has been cleaned and disinfected will instill confidence for anyone who enters your facility, and indicating when machines are cleaned and ready for use is an assurance as well.

The best lesson we can learn from cleaning during Covid-19? We have a real opportunity to create a new, elevated culture of clean going forward that we can all benefit from.

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Bridget Brazie is the Content Marketing Manager at Zogics, the industry's best one-stop-shop for all your facility needs, from cleaning and disinfecting supplies to equipment.​

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