The coronavirus has put hygiene in the spotlight, and bakery ingredients supplier Puratos has offered advice for retail bakeries in these difficult times.

Note: the information is based on current advice and knowledge (as of 23 March) and may change in the future.

Clean the working environment
Maintaining a clean environment for both your customers and team members is now the number one priority, said Puratos, advising extra attention is paid to cleaning surfaces and objects that are touched by different people, including:

  • Payment terminals
  • Counters
  • Kitchen benches
  • Work desks
  • Door handles
  • Cash registers
  • Soap dispensers
  • Computers (keyboards)

Puratos suggests implementing a cleaning schedule to make this part of a routine and inform customers and staff members accordingly.

Help social distancing
To help and build trust among your customers, you can:

  • Encourage contactless payments and create a ‘transaction unit’ where you place the ordered goods for people to collect while keeping a distance.
  • Guarantee that customers stay one metre apart. Place visual aids on the floor – with tape, for example – to help discipline and reassure your customers.
  • Leave sufficient space for entry and exit flow and communicate a ‘one in, one out’ policy.
  • Limit the number of customers inside, according to the size of your shop. Use communication on the door to indicate the maximum of people.
  • When there are queues outside, emphasise the importance of keeping distance again.

Personal hygiene
For everyone to practise good hygiene and prevent the virus from spreading, the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly advises to:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and disinfect them with hand sanitisers
  • Maintain at least one metre (three feet) distance from other people 
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze (if so, dispose of the used tissue immediately)
  • Do not shake hands
  • To avoid touching products with your hands, favour using serving tongs and hygiene gloves.

It is also advised for staff and contractors to have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water, as well as placing sanitising hand rub dispensers in prominent places.

Be transparent and empathise
“Everyone is now having trouble to oversee and understand the situation,” said Puratos. “Your staff members and customers will understand that the same goes for you. Retain their trust and help them remain calm and focused by being honest and transparent about the situation and approach it with empathy.”

Open communication can help people assist each other or come up with new ideas to manage the situation even better, added the company.