Small business owners are spending the equivalent of an entire working day a month doing extra cleaning in their premises in the wake of Covid-19, a study has found.

Prior to the pandemic businesses typically devoted 32 minutes a day to sanitation, but this has now risen to 51 minutes.

That is an additional nine hours a month – more than an average working day, taking the total time spent cleaning to 25 hours per month.

And of the 250 owners polled, 57 per cent have started their working day earlier in order to fit in the required cleaning, while 67 per cent finish later.

For 44 per cent their sanitizing routine has completely changed since the pandemic began and a third said their premises have never felt cleaner or safer.

The study was commissioned by Cert, a cleaning tablet created for small business owners by Hydrachem, who manufacture over 95 per cent of the NHS tablet based disinfection treatments.

It also revealed an additional £57 has been spent each month on germ-busting products – rising from £93 before the pandemic to £150 now.

An average of £49 has been spent on installing plastic screens, £63 on disinfecting wipes and sprays and £34 on hand sanitizer for staff and customers.

Despite this, a quarter of business owners are keen to keep up their new procedure post pandemic.

Robin Rough, managing director of Cert, said: “Everyone has had to change their habits and routines since the pandemic broke out, but especially small businesses.

“The study shows that they are virtually working an extra day or more during the typical month in order to make their premises clean and safe for the public.

“There has been a lot of pressure on such businesses to make places Covid-free and the additional time and money spent in recent months proves how hard they are working.

“Therefore it’s positive to see that the public are being supportive of small businesses and even feel they are the safest they’ve ever been.

“Businesses can’t afford anything less than the highest standards, which is why it is so important to use anti-viral disinfectant and detergents which can kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria, viruses and organisms.”

The study also polled 2,000 adults via OnePoll and found 77 per cent feel small businesses which interact with the public are cleaner and safer now than ever before.

Of those, two thirds feel this is because the likes of hairdressers, pubs and stores have increased the time they spend on cleaning.

And half believe it’s due to businesses being more aware and cautious about germs and cleanliness than ever before.

Changes which have made the public feel safer during the pandemic include staff wearing masks (65 per cent), plastic screens at till points (56 per cent) and a limited number of people allowed inside somewhere at one time (52 per cent).

And places where people have felt the safest during this time were found to be supermarkets (30 per cent), hairdressers (24 per cent) and restaurants (15 per cent).

As a result, 69 per cent believe this is probably the safest and cleanest time to visit a small business and 76 per cent have been keen to support them during this tough time.

Four in five would like to see businesses keep up their current sanitizing routine post pandemic and 63 per cent trust them to use the correct products to stop the spread of germs.

Someone who has had to adapt their cleaning routine during the pandemic is Claire Sen, an Area Cleaner for multiple location properties.

Claire said: “Since the pandemic began, I’ve spent almost double the time cleaning each property. A house which used to take four or five hours now takes about eight.

“It’s much harder work now, having to remember the order in which to do things and how often to change PPE.

“The depth of cleaning has also changed, for example, the key safe and key is now sterilised whereas before I wouldn’t have thought to do that.

“Then there is the ‘decontamination time’ spent when I get home, making sure everything is wiped down and washed as soon as I get through the door.

“It’s really important we clean for longer now. We should have been cleaning this way before the pandemic. It’s an eye opener.

“Covid has had an impact on my working day, it takes longer to complete each clean, meaning I can’t do as many houses in a day as I used to and I finish later than I used to which cuts into the time I spend looking after my own house and family.”

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