Insights

How to Protect Your Business from COVID-19

March 10, 2020

Ensuring Health & Safety Standards are Being Met

The advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to contain the spread of COVID-19 (aka the Coronavirus) is simple and practical:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

The CDC has also issued recommendations for environmental cleaning and disinfection, which can be applied to workplaces, as well as in the home.

The need for these precautions is that much more acute in retail businesses and restaurants where there is high traffic. Anyone from anywhere can be crossing paths. Owners and managers need the tools that will help ensure staff are diligently following policies and procedures such as those for hand-washing and food-handling.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), has issued the Coronavirus and Pandemic Preparedness for the Food Industry guide, which is designed to help food retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers undertake the necessary contingency planning to prepare for a pandemic, including influenza, the coronavirus COVID-19, or any other infectious disease outbreak.

Having a modern video surveillance system with cloud-based data storage and analytics is a great place to start. Such a system integrates video with key systems such as point of sale. This becomes a powerful tool to ensure staff compliance and provide the visual evidence that can be used for training and to modify behaviour.

Starbucks and Second Cup are a perfect example. As part of their efforts to help curb the virus’s spread, both coffee chains recently suspended the use of reusable cups – customers have to get their favourite brew in a single-use disposable cup or ceramic mugs meant for in-store use only.

woman drinking coffee

Both of these brands are offering a discount to any customer who brings a reusable cup of their own – that discount will still be honoured if a customer shows up with a reusable cup, even if the barista can’t take and fill that cup.

Nordstrom’s top leaders, Erik and Pete Nordstrom, wrote a letter to customers to inform them that the retailer has increased the “frequency and extent” of daily store cleanings, added hand sanitizers and is taking steps to ensure employees have the resources to stay healthy. retailwire.com

But how can an owner-manager be sure that this new policy is followed?

With video and POS integration, every one of those transactions in which that reusable cup discount is granted can be quickly filtered and bookmarked in the video footage by its timestamp. These filtered search results can then be quickly reviewed, from anywhere at any time on any device, to see if any barista failed to follow the new policy and did indeed fill up a customer’s reusable mug.

Where else can this kind of data-driven video surveillance prove useful to ensure health and safety standards are met?

  • The food prep area: Are staff cleaning all surfaces as required?
  • The hand wash station: This one really needs no explanation.
  • The dress code: Are staff wearing gloves, hairnets and whatever else is required?
  • Personal health: Are any staff obviously sick, coughing and sneezing as they prepare food or interact with customers, when they should have just stayed at home?
  • Cleaning and maintenance: This extends outside of the food prep area to include bathrooms, and any and every door handle, light switch, table and chair in the dining area – any surface that gets touched by many hands throughout the day.

A data-driven video security system includes features such as motion search of designated areas within a camera’s field of view, heatmaps that highlight traffic patterns during specific times and access to reports from any mobile device. All these features make it easy to filter for and find specific incidents without having to sit down and spend hours reviewing hours of video.

Once an incident is found, it can be bookmarked and that clip emailed on to whichever member of the team has the responsibility to take action. The clip then serves as evidence with which to correct an individual employee’s behaviour and as a training aide for staff in general.

Contact us to learn more about how modern video surveillance can help your business more effectively respond to the unexpected – like COVID-19.

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