With the government mandating that each sector should establish its own protective measures, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has just released its aptly named “Back to Work” directives for garden centres, florists, hardware stores and personal care services, which will be among the first to re-open.
Why is the government giving each sector some leeway to create its own protection plans?
Some criteria are not applicable to all industries, while in other cases more stringent measures may be necessary.
While the Federal Council has said that the ‘back to work’ plan focuses on autonomy and accountability, each sector, or a company within the sector, is supposed to make its plan public and be subject to a possible control by the cantonal authorities to ensure the measures are being followed.
However, three rules are common to all the branches: two-metre distances, cleanliness, disinfection of surfaces, and hand hygiene.
Each business must also post the list of protective measures issued by health authorities in front of every entrance.
Also, customers must be informed that ‘contactless’ forms of payment are preferable, as personal credit and debit cards are more hygienic than cash, which is handled by many people.
What protections will be implemented by personal care professionals such as hairdressers, nail salons, tattoo parlours, etc. to protect clients and service providers?
The company must provide a sink and soap, and customers must wash their hands when arriving and leaving. Doors should not be kept open and the facility should be well ventilated. Magazines should not be placed in the waiting room. When the minimum distance of two metres between the client and service provider can’t be maintained, the worker and the customer must each wear a mask.
What about the shops?
To channel the flow of people, only a limited number of customers will be allowed to enter the store at one time —one person per 10 square-metres of sales area. Once inside, guidelines call for markings on the ground to guarantee a minimum distance of two metres between clients.
What are some of the other measures that will go into effect on April 26th?
Cleanliness and hygiene are obviously of paramount importance, so SECO is recommending the following practices:
• Regularly clean surfaces and objects (for example, work surfaces, keyboards, telephones and work instruments) with a commercial cleaning product, especially when several people share them.
• Also, thoroughly clean door handles, elevator knobs, stair rails, coffee machines and other objects that are often touched by more than one person.
• Do not share cups, glasses, dishes or utensils; wash the dishes with soap and water after each use.
• Clean the toilets regularly.
• Dispose of waste immediately without touching it. Even though you are wearing gloves, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
• Provide disposable paper towels for hand drying.
And, it goes without saying, that only healthy people are authorized to work and only healthy customers are allowed to patronise businesses.
Why is it important to respect all the protective measures?
They are intended to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 and, in the worst-case scenario, another wave of the disease.
The Federal Council said that we can transition from one phase to the next only if the number of cases drastically declines. And that can be accomplished only if everyone complies with the regulations in place.