A full year has passed since the Coronavirus reached El Paso and the surrounding Borderland, bringing with it heavy restrictions and health safety requirements. Some local businesses, public facilities, and beloved attractions have been closed down through the entire ordeal. Long-term closure is especially impacting the owners of local businesses that need to be able to operate for their livelihood. Some businesses couldn’t operate safely at a reduced capacity and while following all health safety guidelines. For others, opening was simply not feasible financially.
Thankfully, 2021 may tell a different story. In January, city leaders unveiled their plan for reopening the city. City manager, Tommy Gonzalez, explained that restrictions are to relax in-step with the number of active COVID-19 cases and the number of people who get vaccinated. Since the announcement, vaccine availability has grown steadily, with a third version approved for distribution this month provided by Johnson and Johnson.
The progress couldn’t come fast enough for El Paso’s closed local businesses. Owners of local stores, restaurants, salons, gyms and other customer-facing establishments are making plans with great anticipation to re-open. As life-saving as it might be for these businesses to open as quickly as possible, some prep work must be done to get these once dormant facilities ready for public use again. Skipping steps could cause damage or pose safety issues for employees and returning customers. Jani-King has a few pointers to make sure each business re-entering the El Paso economy can successfully prepare to welcome visitors.
Unfortunately, businesses that have been closed for months may suffer vandalism or damage to the property. Look for any signs of forced entry or missing items. Account for all damaged items that need to be replaced or repaired and handle those things immediately. For damaged surfaces like walls, upholstery, or countertops, check with a commercial cleaning expert to see if a cleaning process can restore them before you scrap them altogether. Jani-King can confidently restore damaged surfaces using a number of advanced cleaning agents and equipment.
Even if no one has been inside an establishment for months, microbes and dust particles have settled in layers of build-up on surfaces. If the building’s water and electricity have been disconnected, substantial build-up might be present. This happens because stagnant air and pipes make an ideal environment for contaminants to collect and for microorganisms to proliferate. A deep clean can get the place looking fresh and clean again. A deep clean removes the biofilm and buildup including mold, dust and other allergens that are obvious, as well as any other lurking germs and contaminants that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Deep cleans tackle cleaning and disinfecting in a two-step process that addresses virtually every surface in the establishment. Doors, drapes, cabinetry, floors, walls and anything standing in the way will get cleaned first and then disinfected. (Because you can’t disinfect dirt.) Jani-King’s trained technicians use professional-grade tools to clean hard-to-reach places like on top of air conditioner vents and behind industrial equipment. Cobwebs in high ceilings don’t stand a chance. Variouscleaning agents are applied to remove stains and stuck-on sediments without damaging the surfaces. The right application can restore surfaces to like-new condition.
The disinfection process should follow a deep clean. Skilled cleaning technicians treat surfaces with disinfecting agents approved by the EPA to kill microorganisms and remove viruses, which prevents the spread of infections when the building becomes populated.
One of the most requested, and highly effective, disinfection tools that Jani-King uses is the electromagnetic strayer. It uses electrostatic technology to bond disinfectant evenly to surfaces. The electrostatic sprayer makes it possible to treat areas that spray bottles can’t reach like the keyboards at a shared terminal or inside the grooves of a sliding door. The electromagnetic sprayer gives Jani-King technicians greater control of where the spray goes which reduces waste and the risk of overusing disinfectant.
Before the doors open to the public, make sure the environment has undergone disinfection using EPA-approved methods and cleaning agents. Additionally, make sure you’re prepared to carry out a regular disinfection plan that measures up to post-COVID-19 standards.
4. Air Ducts and HVAC System
Unused air ducts can collect moisture which can promote the growth of mold and mildew inside them. Before a building gets used again, those ducts should be cleaned. Additionally, the HVAC system can be updated with new technology to better prevent the spread of viruses.
Alex Zubiate, Chief Estimator with Mechanical Technologies in El Paso, has 10 years of HVAC experience. He says, “Indoor air quality should be a priority for businesses, and that involves cleaning and sanitizing ductwork. Even if the layout is one person to an office, you’re circulating that air. Viruses can pass through any filter and get circulated throughout the building.”
Zubiate recommends spraying disinfectants inside the ductwork during the duct cleaning. Additionally, ionization is a newer technology that can greatly improve air quality and prevent the spread of microbes including viruses.
“Ionization systems use electrostatic filters to grab contaminants in the air and make them sticky so they can be caught in the filter. Otherwise, no matter how expensive and fancy the air filter might be, a small virus or other pathogen will pass through it.” says Zubiate.
Businesses might consider adding an air ionization system to the existing HVAC unit for its strong safety impact. Another plus for buildings reopening is odor killing ability.
City manager Tommy Gonzalez thinks El Paso will reopen faster than other cities when it’s safe to do so. Unlike other cities and states that are dealing with budget deficits caused by the Coronavirus and its effect on the economy, El Paso doesn’t have a budget deficit. The city will be financially prepared to support the reopening process through the year.
So with all things pointing to a better era for El Paso businesses, it’s finally time to take meaningful action and begin the work of making up lost ground. Jani-King’s commercial cleaning and disinfection teams are standing by to provide the equipment and resources El Paso’s businesses need to get back on track for a prosperous future. Even if day-to-day cleaning stays in-house, a deep clean is often worth outsourcing. A team with the right equipment and skills can spend hours getting your business ready, not days. Plus a professional cleaner will catch things others might not. And, of course, no one wants the returning customers to be the ones to spot what was missed.
If you’re looking for turnkey assistance in re-opening and facility preparation, please reach out to Jani-King of El Paso.