Malaysians love malls. Only second best to eating, Malaysians love going to malls to shop, spend time with family or friends, or just simply to kill time. They have become a go to destination, especially during festive seasons or school holidays. Mall operators experience much higher footfall during these periods, which brings to attention several health risks. Being in close proximity with thousands of people with high humidity levels provides the perfect conditions for viruses, bacteria and infections to spread quickly. Here are 5 germ hotspots that businesses should be aware of.
1) Food Courts
Food courts or any self-service restaurants are at the top of the list for being hotspots for bacteria. Tables, trays and garbage bins show large numbers of bacteria count, with food trays being the most dangerous. We place our food and cutlery on these trays which increases chances of contamination. While mall operators are not able to dictate what is provided in individual businesses, ensuring sinks with stocked soap dispensers, paper towels and hand sanitisers are available in food courts will decrease bacteria count tremendously.
ATMs are another hotspot for germs. The keypads on these machines are constantly touched which leaves skin particles and sweat drops which are food to bacteria. It was found that these machines have a higher bacteria count than the average toilet seat, with each button containing about 1,200 germs. Customers who use these machines go on to touch other surfaces, which allows for the spread of bacteria. Generally, these ATMs are located conveniently in one spot, hence providing a hand sanitiser station would greatly reduce chances for cross contamination.
3) Elevators and Escalators
Hand railings and buttons are one of the worst places to touch in malls. Not only are food residue and bacteria like E.coli are common, it was found that blood, urine and faecal matter were also present on those surfaces. This can not only cause diarrhea and other short term infections, it could potentially impact long term health as well. It should go without saying that these particles can be very harmful to your customers well-being. Sanitising these surfaces routinely will help protect your customers from contracting various infections.
4) Shopping Carts
Shopping carts are one of the easiest ways to contract the flu, hand foot mouth disease (HFMD) or e.coli as thousands if not millions of people have used the same cart. In Malaysia, it was found that the main cause of HFMD was unsanitised shopping carts. Cross contamination can easily occur which puts customers and their loved ones at risk. Customers who use these carts will no doubt touch your products. If they decide they no longer require that product, placing that item back will contaminate the entire shelf. While it is difficult to constantly clean each shopping cart after every use, providing disinfectant wipes and instructions on how to use them as well as hand sanitisers next to these carts can help reduce spread of bacteria.
Our final hotspot comes as no surprise as washrooms are regarded as unhygienic and unsanitary. However if you were to ask where the most unhygienic area would be in the washroom, the common answer would be the toilet which would be false. Research has shown that sinks and taps are where bacteria thrive, with approximately 50,000 bacteria per cm. This can be attributed to poor hand hygiene. Proper hand hygiene by washing hands with soap, drying and properly sanitising them can help reduce your chances of infection by 50%, provided the proper facilities are available. Besides proper hand hygiene facilities, providing premium scenting in the washroom can increase hygiene perceptions in your customers mind. Research has shown that our sense of smell can affect the perception of cleanliness in the washroom as well as purchase intentions. With these enhanced facilities of a scented and clean washroom, your customers will be assured that they are protected and valued.
While it is impossible to be 100% bacteria free, there are ways to ensure your customers are safe from cross contamination. Initial can safeguard your customers from bacteria while enhancing your overall customer experience with our Signature Range washroom facilities services. Contact us at 1300 882 388 to learn more how we can support you to improve and raise hygiene standards.