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Each year, up to 21 million Americans contract the highly contagious norovirus. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating an annual cost of $2 billion in lost productivity and healthcare expenses from foodborne norovirus alone, most businesses can't afford an outbreak.

According to the CDC, the most important method for norovirus prevention is handwashing, followed by safe food handling and preparation, surface disinfection and proper laundering of soiled clothes and linens.

“A norovirus outbreak can be devastating to a business’s productivity, not to mention its reputation,” said John Engel, Director of Marketing, Cintas. “Just because a surface looks clean, doesn’t mean that it is. Cleaning with the correct products, on the correct surface with the correct cleaning solution is essential to reducing the chances of an outbreak.”  

To help businesses reduce the threat of an outbreak, Cintas Corporation offers the following norovirus cleaning checklist.

 • Encourage hand hygiene. Implement a hand hygiene program at the facility to encourage frequent handwashing among employees. Whether a retail facility, office building, foodservice establishment or other type of business, the CDC emphasizes that employee handwashing is essential to limiting the spread of viruses.

 • Post reminders. Post signage in breakrooms and restrooms to remind employees and guests to wash hands before and after handling or eating food, as well as after using the restroom.

 • Identify high-touch spots. Identify and disinfect high-touch spots that can serve as a source of virus transmission such as elevator buttons, door handles, railings, light switches, water coolers and communal items such as copiers, drinking fountains, menus or cash registers.

 • Sanitize kitchen equipment. Regularly sanitize employee kitchen surfaces and appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots, toasters and furniture such as tables and chairs.

 • Clean personal spaces. Encourage employees to wipe down and disinfect desks frequently to help limit the spread of illness throughout the building.

 • Stay home when sick. Employees who exhibit symptoms of norovirus are likely highly contagious and should stay home, especially those who work in the foodservice industry.