*Germsafe is a Trust20 partner and they present this piece to educate our readers on UV-C.*
Millions of business owners and managers are facing unprecedented revenue losses and must make decisions to balance compliance with local, state, county, and federal regulations for re-opening. All of these decisions have a very real impact on cash flow. Never has science and business been at such a crossroad. The food service industry is at very high risk, managing reduced capacity and sales while incurring the costs of compliance with government regulations that, in many cases, make facilities safer yet less profitable.
Surface cleaning is the low-hanging fruit for retail and restaurant establishments. It is easy, cost-effective, and highly visible, providing guests with peace of mind in dining or shopping in that establishment. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces are only one layer of protection against bacteria and viruses.
In several publications, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has noted that, while COVID-19 may spread through contact with surfaces, it's not believed to be the primary method of transmission (CDC, 2020).
In the past several months, it has been confirmed that respiratory droplets in the air are the most widespread method of transmission. Unfortunately, most restaurant and retail owners and operators are not focusing on this issue while modifying the environment inhabited by their team and guests.
UV-C, or short wave ultraviolet, is a proven scientific technology. Used for over 100 years, UV-C (at between 100 and 280 nanometers) can deactivate germs, reduce mold, fungi and bacteria, and significantly reduce the spread of the virus. UV-C has been commonly used for sterilization in medical environments and the pharmaceutical sectors as well as in food production facilities. Unfortunately, direct UV-C light exposure can have extremely harmful effects on the human body. Approximately thirty minutes of UV-C exposure can equal around twelve hours in direct sunlight. While direct UV-C lighting can be very effective in highly controlled environments, it presents serious problems for patrons and staff in applications such as retail or restaurants. Fortunately, there are other strategies whereby we can utilize UV-C to reduce the contaminants in the air without any harmful effects.
GermSafe™ Air from VLS is a UV-C air sanitation system. This product can operate around the clock with team members and guests present and remove 96% of germs (Janssens, 2020), including COVD-19, from the air environment. Containing two 15-watt UV-C lamps and a specialized fan system, the GermSafe™ Air draws air into a 4-foot-long tube. While in the tube for just over 30-seconds, the UV-C light sanitizes the air with maximum efficacy. This product can operate for over a year with little to no maintenance and is a bold sign of a restaurant's vision for a cleaner environment. One unit can sterilize over 4000 square feet per hour, and multiple units can be incorporated together to reduce that time.
The proactive industry leader Good Eats Group, has centered their operations around creating the best-in-class, safe environment for their guests and team members. Good Eats Group became the first ever restaurant group to install UV-C Air handling equipment in their Sociale, Café Press, Burger Bar Chicago and the soon-to-be open Sono Wood Fired– Easton Town Center. This equipment allows all of the team members and guests to have the best air quality available whether they are working or simply visiting.
VLS is an Ohio based lighting company with over 42 years of experience in entertainment and architectural lighting systems integration. This year has had a devastating impact on the live events and theater industry, our talented team has shifted their focus to work with products that can solve the global pandemic. VLS lighting experts along with partner manufacturers, determined that UV-C lighting as an air purifier is one of the most effective and low impact methods to provide relief and create safer environments for everyone.
Our company has worked nation-wide to partner with restaurant owners, business professionals, and health officials to install and integrate the GermSafe™ Air products. UV-C is a term that, unfortunately, has become the buzzword of cheap online products and click-bait marketing campaigns. Pure UV-C is the only method of ultraviolet that is proven as a sanitation and sterilization technology.
UV-C is measured in nanometers (one billionth of a meter) that measures the light's wavelength. The range of UV-C in nanometers is between 100 and 280. Above that begins UV-B, which is most seen in tanning beds and black-light products. It's essential that any product billed as a sterilization agent is within the UV-C range. GermSafe™ Air from VLS operates at 256 nanometers.
Health professionals use the Swiss Cheese analogy in discussing the prevention of this disease. Masks, surface cleaning, air sterilization, and social distancing all make up these layers of Swiss Cheese, where the more layers you add, the fewer holes are visible from both ends. Adding a UV-C product is an efficient, low-impact and cost-effective layer of Swiss Cheese that is readily available. I would encourage all business owners and regulatory bodies to put as much effort into the cleanliness of the air as the time and energy that is spent cleaning surfaces. Restaurant and retail owners and managers can be part of the solution in creating a healthier environment for employees and customers.
Tom Siko is the President of VLS. He holds degrees in both lighting design and business administration and has been in the lighting industry for over 20 years. VLS is a Cleveland Ohio based lighting systems integration company, specializing in entertainment and architectural applications. For more information visit www.vls.com or email email@example.com
CDC. (2020, May 1). Food Safety and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/newsletter/food-safety-and-Coronavirus.html
Janssens, T. (2020). UV-C Air Disinfection Scientifically Verified. Institute of Biotechnology of Food and Agricultural Industry. https://bit.ly/GermSafeAir