July 29, 2020


Sanitation Checklists for Businesses: Recommendations During COVID-19

Sanitation Checklists for Businesses: Recommendations During COVID-19

Table of Contents

1. The Most Common Checklist Challenges Being Faced

2. Why Sanitation Checklists Are Necessary

3. General Daily Business Sanitation Checklist

4. Restroom Sanitation Checklist

5. Nail Salon Sanitation Checklist

6. Childcare Sanitation Checklist

7. Grocery Store Sanitation Checklist

8. Restaurant Sanitation Checklist

9. Manufacturing Sanitation Checklist

10. Maritime Sanitation Checklist


Many business owners are still waiting for a definitive answer to an important question: When can we reopen?  In response to COVID-19, government leaders around the world issued business closures, lock-downs, and stay at home mandates in March 2020. 

While close-to-normal business operations have resumed in many countries—New Zealand, Germany, India—many U.S. states remain in a period of waiting to see what happens. As of July, the majority of states have reopened with relaxed restrictions on businesses such as retail stores, restaurants and bars, and entertainment joints. 

Unfortunately, both Texas and Florida resumed lockdown measures after reporting an increased number of novel coronavirus cases after reopening in June. However, with the accuracy of recent lab reporting coming into question, many business owners are hopeful about the possibility of reopening for good in the near future. Do you have questions about what tasks should be on your checklist, how to digitize everything, or how to enforce compliance?

In this article, we’ve created COVID-19 sanitation checklists for many common business types. Use the Table of Contents to skip to your desired section:

Sanitation Checklists for Businesses: Recommendations During COVID-19

The Most Common Checklist Challenges Being Faced

The largest challenges faced by operational managers who are  implementing new safety and sanitation procedures are as follows:

Following Recommended Best Practices:

COVID-19 restaurant guidelines

Before evaluating sanitation checklists for businesses, it’s recommended that you familiarize yourself with industry-specific safety and sanitation recommendations on OSHA’s COVID-19 Resource Page and the CDC WebsiteHere are the basic guidelines:  

  • Rub hands with 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Wash hands for 30 seconds with warm, soapy water. 
  • Provide sanitizing supplies for electronic equipment. 
  • Cover coughs with the inside of elbows.
  • Maintain 6-foot social distancing when possible. 
  • Develop employee/customer mask policy. 
  • Ensure adequate air circulation. 

Individuals should also avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands. Managers may want to hang posters that remind staff to avoid touching their eyes, noses, and mouths while on the premises.

With that said, compliance isn’t often a matter of NOT knowing what to do; it’s a matter of forgetting what to do. Workers who are juggling ringing phones, in-person interactions, and workstation duties may forget sanitation instructions that aren’t second-nature. This brings us to the next challenge faced when implementing new sanitation checklists: 

Maintaining Compliance:

business sanitation checklists

How can you know with absolute certainty that your employees are putting your new policies into action? By utilizing user-friendly, digital sanitation checklists for businesses. The advantages here are two-fold: 

A). Everyone walks around with a smartphone in their pocket. The checklist won’t get lost, and they can be easily sanitized. 

B). Platforms like MaintainX provide digital audit trails. Managers can see exactly what has been done, by whom, and when. 

Another great feature of digital audit trails? They can provide peace of mind from the final safety and sanitation procedure challenge on our list:

Understanding Legal Responsibilities:

At the moment, there is no legal precedence for business liability concerning COVID-19. It’s looking like U.S. Federal courts may be granted jurisdiction over personal injury and medical liability claims stemming from COVID-19. However, the ultimate legalities remain to be seen. 

For this reason, you may want to archive paper checklists in binders or utilize a safety and sanitation checklist app to record proof of compliance. In recent years, several digital task-management solutions have appeared, offering a range of capabilities for operational maintenance and safety. Yet, the majority of organizations are still relying on paper checklists, binders, and filing cabinets. Why? 

While there are many reasons for the slow digital transference, we believe one roadblock to be unnecessarily complicated software. If you own a smartphone and know how to download an app you can create free, digital sanitation checklists for businesses with MaintainX in minutes.

Click here to learn How to Create a Digital Cleaning Procedure

Effectively Communicating With Employees/Customers:

Maintaining open communication between all team members is paramount to your organization’s success. Employees at all levels should have already received written correspondence about COVID-19 precautions, explaining what is happening, what is  changing, and what they can expect. 

If your organization doesn’t already utilize a group chat, we recommend using a connected-workforce app. In addition to being a sanitation checklist and work order app, MaintainX allows managers to organize instant messaging threads by department, group, and individual. It’s kinda like Slack, but with work order and sanitation checklists for businesses. 

connected-workforce messaging

Connected-workforce apps allow upper-management to quickly receive feedback on what is and isn’t working in terms of new policies. Depending on the complexity of your organization, you may need to hold special meetings with customer-facing, sanitation, and operations team members. Ensure every departmental leader is aware of your new sanitation policies and feels confident discussing the policies with their department members.  

2. Why Sanitation Checklists Are Necessary

The key to achieving compliance with sanitation checklists for businesses is twofold: helping employees understand why they are important and writing easy-to-follow instructions. It’s worth emphasizing to your team that states are reopening to avoid an economic collapse, not necessarily because everyone feels ready to do so.

Sanitation checklists help with:

  • Maintaining a healthy work environment.
  • Making customers feel safe, confident, and comfortable doing business with you again. 
  • Keeping everyone on the same page regarding sanitation policies.
  • Providing proof of compliance with sanitation guidelines.
  • Reviewing and updating safety protocols to include new sanitation best practices as needed.

While non-essential employees are encouraged to work from home, team members who are on-site should be encouraged to familiarize themselves with company sanitation checklists and to implement them. It not only promotes their wellbeing but that of their colleagues and the customers they serve.

Click here to read On The Job Safety During Coronavirus

3. General Daily Sanitation Checklist

sanitation checklists for businesses

Safety and sanitation checklists for businesses are nothing new. Long before COVID-19, businesses of all types practiced standard operating procedures (SOPs) to promote hygiene and preventive healthcare. 

For example, restaurants are usually required to prepare, handle, and store food in a certain manner. Unless you’re running an e-commerce business, the pandemic has caused most sanitation checklists to become a lot more specific. A general daily COVID -19 sanitation checklist should emphasize that: :

  • Employees who feel unwell should stay home and seek medical attention.
  • Masks and disposable gloves need to be worn, distributed, and changed. 
  • Commonly touched surfaces need to be regularly disinfected.
  • Foods and customer goods need to be safely packaged.
  • Customers should use digital payment options.
  • Physical gatherings should be limited.

Not only should employees be provided with daily sanitation checklists, but customers should have access to them as well. 

Click here to read How to Properly Clean and Disinfect Work Environments

4. Restroom Sanitation Checklist

Restrooms should be as clean as the rest of your facility. Routine restroom cleaning promotes health and deters vandalism. A restroom sanitation checklist will help your team stay on top of routine cleanings. 

Here’s a restroom sanitation checklist you can use:

  • Clean, disinfect, and wipe dry counters, fixtures, soap dispensers, and toilet seats every hour.
  • Replace urinal blocks throughout the day.
  • Clean, disinfect, and restock feminine hygiene dispensers as needed.
  • Frequently check and restock restroom supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, and hand soap.
  • Regularly empty trash and sanitary disposal containers (even when they are not full). 
  • Regularly dust and vacuum restroom air vents.
  • Ensure cleaning equipment is well-maintained and functioning as it should.
  • Clean water and splashes from restroom counters and floors.

Restroom Sanitation Checklist:

ActivityDurationCompletedCompleted ByDate
Clean, disinfect, and wipe dry toilet seats, counters, fixtures, and soap dispensersEvery hour
Replace urinal blocks regularly Throughout shifts
Clean, disinfect, and restock feminine hygiene dispensers Throughout shifts
Frequently check and restock restroom supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, and hand soapEvery hour
Regularly empty  trash and sanitary disposal containers (even when they are not full) Every hour
Regularly dust and vacuum the restroom air ventsBefore closing
Ensure that cleaning equipment is well-maintained and functioning as it shouldAt start of  day
Clean water and splashes from restroom counters and floorsThroughout shifts

Finally, your restrooms should always smell fresh and clean. Any unpleasant odors should be dealt with as soon as possible. 

5. Nail Salon Sanitation Checklist

nail salon covid safety procedures

Unsanitized nail salons can lead to the outbreak of bacterial skin conditions besides other communicable diseases. Understandably, maintaining a cleaning schedule can be quite daunting when nail salons are overbooked and short-staffed. That is why you need a sanitation checklist to keep reminding you of the tasks and supervise how well they are performed.

Your nail salon sanitation checklist should include instructions to: 

  • Wash hands for 30 seconds before and after serving every client.
  • Dispose of single-use items such as buffers and vaporous items.
  • Replace table towels after every use.
  • Sanitize, disinfect, or sterilize multi-use items before reusing.
  • Sanitize manicure table and UV/LED lamp.
  • Clean and sanitize hard surfaces that clients often touch. 
  • Dust retail items, door frames, and other dusty areas. 
  • Clean and sanitize employee break rooms.
  • Disinfect safety rails inside and outside alon.

Nail Salon Sanitation Checklist:

ActivityDurationCompletedCompleted ByDate
Employees should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water before and after serving every clientBefore and after serving every client
Carefully dispose of single-use items such as buffers and vaporous itemsThroughout shifts
Replace table towels after every useAfter every use
Sanitize, disinfect, or sterilize multi-use items before reusingBefore use
Sanitize manicure table and UV/LED lampAfter every use
Dust retail items, door frames, and other areas where dust may accumulateThroughout shifts
Sanitize and clean  employees’ break room regularlyThroughout shifts
Disinfect safety rails inside and outside the salonThroughout shifts

Finally, because nail salon services are highly physical, employees should wear disposable masks and gloves at all times when dealing with clients. After the job is done, they should safely discard the gloves and use new ones for new clients.

6. Childcare Sanitation Checklist

childcare sanitaiton checklist

Childcare facilities have extra responsibility to ensure that children are always in a clean and healthy environment. This childcare sanitation checklist can help streamline your cleaning efforts:

  • Clean chairs, tables, and playing areas.
  • Wash dishes and disinfect food-prep stations after cleaning.
  • Disinfect toys and keep them organized in bins.
  • Clean and disinfect diaper-changing tables after use.
  • Regularly empty trash and diaper pails.
  • Mop and vacuum clean floors.

Childcare Sanitation Checklist:

ActivityDurationCompletedCompleted ByDate
Clean chairs, tables, and playing areasBeginning and end of day
Wash dishes and disinfect food-prep stations after cleaningAfter every use
Disinfect toys and keep them organized in binsAfter every playtime
Clean and disinfect diaper- changing tables after useAfter every use
Regularly empty trash and diaper pailsWhenever half full
Mop and vacuum clean floorsBeginning and end of day

Require children to regularly wash their hands and observe other hygiene practices. Encourage them to play games that observe social-distancing guidelines, such as Hide and Seek.

Click here to read How to Implement New Cleaning Guidelines for Schools

7. Grocery Sanitation Checklist

sanitation guidelines facility management

Even when stay-at-home orders were in full-force, grocery stores remained open. These essential business facilities are high-traffic areas and should strive to maintain top-notch safety and sanitation standards. 

Use this grocery sanitation checklist as a starting point that you can customize to meet the needs of your particular location:

  • Sanitize shopping carts, baskets, workstations, countertops, cash registers, door handles, railings, food contact surfaces, and windows.
  • Sanitize bathroom surfaces, fixtures, soap dispensers, and toilets.
  • Wash and sanitize hands throughout day. 
  • Minimize physical contact among employees and customers.
  • Wear disposable gloves and masks. 
  • Put food safety practices in place with suppliers.

In addition to the above checklist, the CDC recommends that grocery stores set up dedicated shopping periods for senior citizens and other high-risk individuals. This will enable high-risk groups of people to shop safely with minimal exposure to the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Click here to read How to Implement New Sanitation Guidelines for Facilities Management 

8. Restaurant Sanitation Checklist

restaurant sanitation checklists

As previously mentioned, restaurants and bars have successfully reopened in many states, while others have been forced to scale back fully opening. Implementing proper restaurant hygiene practices not only protects employees, but also the general public’s health. 

As you know, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) requires restaurants to put specific measures in place to reduce the risk of health hazards. This restaurant sanitation checklist will help you to stay in compliance with FDA requirements: 

  • Sanitize door handles, seats, bars, tabletops, windows, doors, and railings at routine intervals throughout day. 
  • Clean and sanitize food-prep surfaces both before and after preparing food items. 
  • Empty trash as regularly as possible.
  • Refill disposable items such as napkins and straws regularly.
  • Clean up spills before they dry up.
  • Sweep and mop the floor as regularly as possible.
  • Clean and vacuum rugs and floor mats.
  • Dust off vents, fan guards, and hoods.
  • Safely dispose of stale ingredients.

Restaurant Sanitation Checklist:

ActivityDurationCompletedCompleted ByDate
Sanitize door handles, seats, bars, tabletops, windows, doors, and railings regularlyThroughout shifts
Clean and sanitize food prep areas and surfaces before and after preparing foodBefore and after preparing food
Empty trash as regularly as possibleThroughout shifts
Refill disposable items such as napkins and straws regularlyThroughout shifts
Clean up spills before they dry upAs needed
Sweep and mop floor as regularly as possibleThroughout shifts
Clean and vacuum  rugs and floor matsEnd of day
Clean and vacuum rugs and floor matsEnd of day
Safely dispose of stale ingredientsEnd of day

Additionally, many states are still advising customers to place takeaway orders as opposed to dining inside. Check your local government mandates to determine the current protocols for your area. 

The goals are to reduce physical contact between employees and customers and to maintain heightened sanitation standards – especially with regard to food handling and cross contamination. 

Click here to read How to Navigate COVID-19: Guidelines for Restaurant Owners

9. Manufacturing Sanitation Checklist

preventive maintenance for manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is considered an essential business. With limited direct contact between employees and customers, manufacturing  may be one of the least COVID-impacted industries.  

However, that doesn’t mean manufacturing facilities should neglect adhering to recommended sanitation checklists for businesses guidelines. They need them just like everyone else. Because products are distributed between vendors and customers, manufacturers are encouraged to clean and disinfect: 

  • Tools and equipment
  • Work area surfaces
  • Break rooms and bathrooms
  • Doors, door handles, and windows
  • Fences, railings, and shelves
  • Mobile devices, monitors, computer keyboards, and mice
  • Equipment control panels
  • Safety gear

Employees should also be encouraged to clean their hands regularly and practice social distancing amongst themselves.

Manufacturing Sanitation Checklist:

Activity (cleaning and disinfecting)DurationCompletedCompleted ByDate
Tools and equipmentThroughout shifts
Work area surfacesThroughout shifts
Break rooms and bathroomsThroughout  shifts
Doors, door handles, and windowsThroughout shifts
Fences, railings, and shelvesThroughout  shifts
Mobile devices, monitors, computer keyboards, and miceThroughout  shifts
Equipment control panelsThroughout  shifts
Safety gearThroughout  shifts

Finally, food and drug manufacturers need additional sanitation checklists to ensure that biological and chemical hazards are handled properly. These may include writing out control processes, continuously monitoring the effectiveness of preventive controls, and implementing supply-chain controls for the approval of suppliers. 

Click here to read How to Follow COVID-19 Sanitation Guidelines for Warehouses

10. Maritime Sanitation Checklist

ship sanitation checklist

According to the World Health Organization, ships should keep the following areas well-maintained and clean: 

  • Gallery and food areas
  • Medical facilities, spas, and swimming pools
  • Engine room
  • Standing water
  • Waste area
  • Ballast tanks
  • Sewage systems
  • Drinking water
  • Crew accommodation
  • Pantry and storage rooms
  • Holds

These areas should be clean and well-maintained at all times. Any food and drinks should be prepared with the highest sanitation standards possible and hard surface areas sanitized and disinfected regularly. Note: All ships are required to maintain sanitation certification showing they have met required standards. 

Manage Your Digital Sanitation Checklists With MaintainX

Everything will be back to normal, sooner or later. New Zealand has already lifted COVID-19 restrictions and declared the nation virus-free. However, stateside businesses still need to do their part in “flattening the curve.”

Organizational leaders who maintain open communication, healthy work environments, and easy-to-follow procedures can make life easier for everyone during this stressful time. If you have been considering switching from manual to digital sanitation checklists, we invite you to try MaintainX. Our freemium smartphone app makes it easy to: 

  • Create, assign, and monitor editable checklists.
  • Monitor compliance with real-time updates.
  • Chat with co-workers via instant messaging. 
  • Maintain digital audit trials of compliance.  
  • Upload and share important documents. 

Additionally, employees can access documents, policies, and digital checklists from the convenience of their mobile phones. If you think MaintainX could help your organization to enhance employee, customer, and stakeholder safety, we’re here to help. 

Click here to get started with MaintainX.

Caroline Eisner
Caroline Eisner
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