Seven out of 10 UK adults would avoid visiting eateries if their first impression didn’t make them feel safe, according to a new study.
In research commissioned by specialist hygiene services provider Citron Hygiene, 67 per cent of UK adults say they are more afraid of germs and conscious of hygiene now than before the coronavirus pandemic, and more than seven in 10 (73 per cent) are now washing their hands more frequently than before.
Unsurprisingly, the public are demanding more visible hygiene solutions at cafes, bars and restaurants since the outbreak. Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents want to see readily-available hand sanitiser before they would consider revisiting post-lockdown, while 43 per cent of people would like clear and visible signs of washroom cleaning.
The survey also found that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of UK adults will not return to their favourite café, bar or restaurant until coronavirus is defeated.
Robert Guice, Executive Vice President, International at Citron Hygiene said: “The coronavirus pandemic has significantly shifted people’s attitudes towards hygiene. The way we live our lives and socialise with others has changed radically, with the awareness and protection of personal hygiene being put under the microscope more than ever before.
“Our study shows that a large proportion of people are still anxious about revisiting their favourite hangouts and would like to see numerous hygiene measures implemented before they would return.
“As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, providing solutions to maintain healthy and clean spaces must be a number one priority for businesses that want to reassure and re-attract guests.”
For many, it’s the need to use a public toilet that makes or breaks their decision to visit their favourite bar or restaurant, with 45 per cent saying it’s a key factor.
However more than half (51 per cent) of those surveyed would feel more comfortable if hand sanitiser was readily available after using washrooms, and 44 per cent would like to use products to clean surfaces with – such as toilet seat wipes.
But some respondents want to see businesses go even further. More than one-quarter (29 per cent) of Brits would like to see air cleaning systems installed to remove airborne bacteria, while three in 10 would prefer a permanent toilet attendant in place to clean surfaces after use.
Forty-four per cent of people would like motion sensors fitted to taps and the toilet flush to reduce the number of touch points, and more than one-third (35 per cent) would prefer a mechanism to open washroom doors without needing to use their hands.
Guice continued: “It’s no surprise that the pandemic has led to greater scrutiny on washroom hygiene from the public. While businesses should always make hygiene a priority, there is now an even greater imperative to make customers feel safe and confident, and finding the right solutions to do that will be key to reviving footfall, and getting hospitality businesses booming again.
“For many businesses, washrooms will now become a central part of their operation. Visible signs of regular cleaning and maintenance will be vital for their reputation and responsibility to help control the spread of infection.”
Personal hygiene is also a bigger priority for Brits nowadays, too, as the research showed people are spending more time washing their hands – likely to be a result of the government hand-washing campaign. Respondents on average now wash and sanitise their hands eight times a day, compared to just five times before. More than two-fifths (44 per cent) say they now carry hand sanitiser when they go out, and more than a quarter (27 per cent) sanitise items they’ve bought, including grocery shopping.
More than half (53 per cent) said that regular cleaning of public spaces would make them most comfortable when out in public, while 36 per cent would prefer to see a consistent wearing of personal protective equipment, including gloves and facemasks.
It also emerged more than a quarter (27 per cent) are fearful of returning to their place of work but would feel more confident if their workplace provided personal sanitiser bottles to staff, surface wipes and ensured that staff toilets were regularly cleaned.
The research into hygiene concerns of UK adults since coronavirus comes as Citron Hygiene looks to significant growth in the UK following their entry in 2018. They currently operate out of eight premises nationally. Operating in Canada and the United States since 1980, Citron Hygiene is a well-established hygiene solutions provider helping a wide range of customers ‘build healthy spaces’ for staff and visitors.