WAYS TO LIMIT COVID-19 WITH THE
HELP OF DOMESTIC STAFF
BY TERESA LEIGH
Busy households and properties can be difficult to manage without a national crisis, but the easy transfer of infection with Covid-19 combined with the need for daily service staff can be highly emotional and exhausting for many homeowners. The following is an easy guide on how to lower the homeowner’s risk of infection and safely mitigate risk with household and property staff. In addition, it is important to remember that household staff and service vendors and their employees may not appear ill, but they might be carriers of Covid-19. The surfaces they have come into contact with and/or touched may also carry the Covid-19 virus for up to 72 hours. Be vigilant when handling items that may not have been thoroughly cleaned or gone through a quarantine process.
HOUSEHOLD GUIDELINES FOR MINIMIZING
THE RISK OF INFECTION
1. Designate a decontamination staging area for the entry and exit of employees, service vendors, deliveries, and packages. The use of the garage area, the guest house, or even a carport can provide enough open space to allow people to put on and remove PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and to separate food and other packages for cleaning and/or quarantine before those items can be taken into the residence. (For those residing in an apartment or condominium, the decontamination staging area can be the area outside the entry door of the residence. Use lockable containers for basic PPE items and packages. These should be placed at a distance from other containers used for contaminated items that should go directly to
the laundry or trash before entering the home. If this is not practical, a room closest to the entry can be set up for incoming items to be cleaned and/or quarantined.)
2. Equip the staging area with basic PPE items for employees and service vendors, e.g., face masks, goggles, gloves, and shoe covers.
3. Require employees to wash their hands before beginning their workday and frequently throughout the day.
4. Train your employees on how to interact safely with all service vendors and delivery personnel by requiring the use of basic PPE and social distancing when working in the household or on property.
5. Avoid the use of cash when purchasing household and food items. Designate a credit card with a limited value when purchasing items. The credit card must be sanitized after every use.
6. Limit the number of household and property employees to one interior and one exterior when practical.
7. Require service vendor employees to utilize the designated decontamination staging area for entry, and exit, to wash their hands thoroughly before entry and to use PPE while working.
8. Consider ‘camping out’ at home without staff or service vendors. Limit all incoming packages and contact with other individuals or social groups until the virus passes.
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