Many businesses are looking for a way to inspire consumer confidence as they prepare for the second phase of the province’s economic reawakening after the coronavirus shutdown.
The Manitoba Tourism Education Council hopes its new cleaning standards program will provide just that.
"It’s an enhanced cleaning program," CEO Shannon Fontaine said. "We’re not teaching (businesses) to be cleaners, we’re teaching you what else you need to do to do it right."
MTEC is a not-for-profit organization that receives provincial funding to assist the tourism industry with training for managers, supervisors and employees.
The 60-minute Clean It Right program, which launched Tuesday, includes training videos, supplemental information and a final exam. The course is available both online and in classroom.
Certification — complete with certificate, wallet card and window decal recognizing the business has trained all of its cleaning staff — requires a perfect, 100 per cent grade on the final exam.
Business owners can register for the course online. There is no charge for retail, tourist and hospitality businesses until next year.
"We’ve covered every facet of every touchpoint, whether it’s a hotel or a restaurant, and then the difference of cleaning versus sanitizing versus sterilization and frequency," Fontaine said.
"This program will be a higher standard; that’s why we’ve put it as being a recognition program with the window decal — that when you see that window you’re going to know that place has committed to enhanced cleaning."
There are separate modules for hotels, restaurants and food services and retail businesses, all victims of what Fontaine calls a "catastrophic" drop in customers.
The plan is to keep the program in place after the pandemic, refreshing it periodically.
"This is not meant to be for the summer, it’s meant to be going forward," she said.
While Manitoba Public Health regulates cleanliness standards for many businesses, Fontaine believes some customers will be made more comfortable with an additional stamp of approval.
The program has a wait list, she said.
"Everybody knows it’s time-sensitive, because when we go into Phase 2 of the province opening, these businesses want to be ready," she said.
While the program is specifically meant for cleaners, Fontaine hopes all staff take part.
"This should be the new higher standard," she said.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.
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