CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia National Guard has been providing safety training for retail workers to keep them safe and following health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What the guard discusses first with retail locations is the type of personal protective equipment that they are using and should be using while working with the public. Also, the guard teaches them how to properly wear gloves. Officials with the guard explain that non-porous surface of the gloves can potentially spread germs.
“So, they need to be cognizant of the fact that once they’ve touched the surface, it could be possibly be contaminated. That they need to decontaminate the gloves or replace the gloves. And, then we go through the basic demonstrations of how to remove the gloves after they have finished using them,” said SFC Steven Morrison.
Officials with the National Guard said that one of the keys to removing gloves is turning them inside out to prevent cross contamination. National Guard members also advise when removing respiratory protection to immediately wash hands to kill germs.
“We talk about barriers when available, and most of the stores have acted very quickly. They have put some Plexiglas barriers between the store workers and the customer. And so, most stores are doing a good job with that already, but if there are any that are out there that don’t have these yet, that is a good protective measure for the employees and for the customers,” said Morrison.
Guard members explain that sanitizing frequently-touched surfaces is important for the safety of the customer and retail employees. They also discuss avoiding touching the face and say, for many people, it’s a hard habit to break.
“Avoid walking through a space where someone has recently sneezed or coughed. Studies have shown that droplets for coughs or sneezes can hang out in the air for up to three minutes. So, if you are walking through a space where someone has coughed and sneezed, and they do have COVID-19, there is a potential you can breathe that in either through your nose or mouth, or it could go through your eyes and down through your tear ducts to your respiratory system,” said Morrison.
Many stores have signs placed telling customers the safe practices that have been put into place to ensure safety, along with the guidelines they are putting into place.