During this challenging time, we are continuing to support our customers in every way we can.
Covid-19 June Statement
The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted daily lives across the world and forced unprecedented changes to the way in which we all work. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23rd March 2020, the hospitality sector came to an abrupt halt, which in turn has temporarily paused many commercial laundry operations. County Linen continued to operate throughout this period, providing a service to customers that have remained open for front-line key workers and the food trade industry. We will continue to follow all guidance issued by UK Government, Public Health England and the Textile Services Association (TSA), but we wanted to let you know how we are planning to adapt to the new-normal way of life.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
The safety and well-being of our customers and employees is our top priority. For this reason, we have introduced several measures to minimise the impact to our business and the service we provide to you. Some of these measures include:
• PPE provision for all laundry operatives and drivers.
• Separate entrances and exits to allow a one-way flow of foot traffic.
• Installation of additional handwashing/sanitising stations.
• Regular cleaning and disinfecting of all communal areas, i.e. canteen, toilets, meeting areas.
• Staggered break times to allow social distancing measures to be maintained.
• Installation of protective Perspex screens on machines where production personnel work in closer proximity to one another.
• Employees that can work from home are already doing so, and we are utilising virtual software for all meetings and conferences.
• Drivers must wear PPE at all times.
• Vehicle cabs will be cleaned before and after each route.
• Contactless deliveries and collections will be made where possible.
WILL THE WASH PROCESS CHANGE?
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
Thermal disinfecting has always been considered sufficient for killing any virus and is the standard wash process used by the Healthcare industry. This involves maintaining a wash temperature of 71°C for a period of over three minutes. County Linen operated to this standard prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to do so going forward. Our ironer process also operates at 170°C, so we are confident that our linen is safe for all customers. The TSA is currently working with a team of experts at the De Montfort University to determine if chemical disinfection is also required to eradicate COVID-19. There is not currently any confirmed evidence to suggest that this is the case, however we will monitor their guidance closely and immediately implement any necessary adjustments.
WHAT IF THERE IS A CONFIRMED CONTAMINATION?
For any infected or contaminated linen (including COVID-19), County Linen operate a soluble red bag policy to enable easy identification and segregation accordingly. This also helps to ensure we limit the frequency of contact needed, and our team avoid direct contact with contaminated textiles. All red bags are held in a separate isolation storage for 72 hours prior to wash and are then processed in a designated disinfectant machine. Any cages used to transfer red bags are disinfected and removed from circulation for a minimum of 72 hours.
WILL COUNTY BE READY TO RE-OPEN FULLY?
Although we are still open, we are operating on much smaller scale than normal. Most staff, including production operatives, drivers, and customer service teams, have been placed onto the Government’s furlough scheme. This is currently reviewed every three weeks, however this can be amended at any time. We are keen to start supplying a service as soon as it is needed, and we are confident that we will be able to meet customer requirements, but advance planning will be key. We have modern facilities that have continued to operate, so we expect minimal re-commissioning issues. We also have access to large volumes of clean stock that can be retrieved easily if needed. There are still several unknowns at the moment, including when our customers can start to re-open and what initial occupancy levels will look like. Communication will be vital, but in short we are ready as soon as you are.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Prior to the recommencement of service, communication will be crucial to ensure a smooth re-opening period. Please let us know as soon as you have an expectation of how your business will re-open. Once service resumes, we would ask all customers to adhere to the social distancing guidance that has been outlined by the World Health Organisation and UK Government. To help minimise the person-to-person contact wherever possible, we will be asking all customers to ensure that delivery areas are kept as clear as possible, and for all soiled linen to be ready from the designated collection area.
We are conscious that the guidance from UK Government, Public Health England and the TSA is subject to change at any time. Please be assured that we are following all guidelines closely and we are monitoring daily for updates. If you have any queries, or if we can be of any assistance during this exceptional time, please get in touch.
We look forward to working with you again soon.