South Africans are being more cautious than ever before with this second wave of COVID-19 hitting everyone either close to or in their homes. As a result, many of us are not too eager to allow someone who isn’t part of their households into our homes. This has, however, meant that those who make a living off helping people in their homes with cleaning and with repair work are struggling to make ends meet. We chatted to Aisha Pandor, CEO of SweepSouth, about how South Africans can still make use of various people and services in their houses. Here are her tips.
- Perform the necessary checks
“First, ensure that whoever you are employing is well aware of the guidelines that are already out there,” says Pandor. “At SweepSouth, for example, we have strict safety precautions in place and ensure that all our SweepStars – whether it be someone coming to clean your house or someone coming to fix your geyser – wear masks, keep to social distancing protocols and keep strict sanitising measures whilst they are present in your home as keeping our SweepStars and clients safe from COVID is our priority,” says Pandor.
Of course, it is also the home owner’s responsibility to maintain their own safety protocols as these benefit not just those helping in your household, but your own family too. Also, should anyone in your household be diagnosed with COVID-19, have been exposed to the virus or show symptoms, be sure to alert those who have been in your house.
2. Take precautions during work hours
If you’re at home while a cleaner is working or when a workman needs to do repairs, Pandor advises that everyone should wear a mask at all times, and practise social distancing.
“Social distancing helps more than anything to reduce the spread of the virus, so keep talking to a minimum, open windows to keep fresh air circulating, and keep your distance to at least 1.5 metres.”
Just in case someone arrives without a mask on, have clean masks on hand for them to quickly place over both their nose and mouth. To further help reduce the spread of germs, keep a bottle of medical-grade hand sanitizer on a table at the front door, and insist that anyone coming in must sanitise their hands first. If you belong to the ‘shoes-don’t-belong-indoors’ camp, ask anyone coming indoors to remove their shoes, or provide disposable booties. For workmen, spread newspapers or a plastic drop sheet on the floor where they will be working, and cover tables or countertops with newspaper so that they can safely lay out their tools.
If you have an elderly relative, or an immuno-compromised person living at home, keep them in an area of the house as far away as possible from where the work is being conducted.
The above precautions are as much for the workers as they are for you, and most service providers will appreciate your thoughtfulness. For their own safety, encourage them to avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily, avoid touching their faces or mouths with their hands while doing the job, and afterwards, ask them to wash their hands with soap and water.
3. Disinfect surfaces
After a service provider has left, throw away any newspapers or drop sheets, then wipe down hard surfaces and door handles that may have been touched, with a disinfectant. Wipe and disinfect any sinks and taps where they have washed their hands. These measures may sound extreme, but it will add another blanket of protection for your family and yourself.
“By sticking to the above simple guidelines, the risk of transmission is much smaller,” says Pandor. With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa likely to hit a third peak soon, now is the time to increase preventative measures so never feel awkward or guilty about asking someone to comply with safety measures. It’s vitally important for all of us to keep each other safe, while keeping our economy functioning and our population working. Adding in these layers of intervention will greatly help to reduce risk and spread of the virus.
“Minimising risk and protecting your family is all about following a few simple guidelines, and by having an understanding of how the coronavirus is actually transmitted,” says Pandor.
“By having a better understanding of how transmission occurs and how to prevent it, we can ensure that the contact we have with other people is done so at minimal risk for all involved,” she says.