SMALL business owners are spending the equivalent of an entire working day a month doing extra cleaning because of coronavirus.

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

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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% have started their working day earlier in order to fit in the required cleaning, while 67% finish later.

For 44% of recipients, 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% 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.

The study also polled 2,000 adults via OnePoll and found 77% 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%), plastic screens at till points (56%) and a limited number of people allowed inside somewhere at one time (52%).

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

As a result, 69% believe this is probably the safest and cleanest time to visit a small business and 76% 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% 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."

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% of bacteria, viruses and organisms."

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