Businesses turn to ultraviolet lighting to ease customer concerns about sanitation
DILLON — As businesses prepare to reopen to customers at limited capacity, additional sanitation methods are being considered beyond standard surface cleaning.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations, which manages more than 800 units, has brought portable, ultraviolet lights into all of its resorts. The lights are meant to disinfect rooms between stays as well as common areas such as lobbies, spas and gyms.
The UV lights come from the Lakewood-based company PURO UV Disinfection Lighting, which claims the UV lights kill up to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. The company’s lighting units also are used in places like hospitals and manufacturing facilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published findings that UV lighting, along with two other methods, has shown the most promise to disinfect N-95 respirators.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations CEO Mike Dudick said he learned about the availability of the technology about three weeks ago and jumped on it immediately because he was concerned suppliers wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand for the products. He said the company now has at least 50 of the UV lights, which are set up on a tripod and can handle one room at a time for 15-minute intervals.
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“We obtained a sufficient supply to be able to meet our demand for unit turnover on any given day, so we can assure that we’ll be able to use this technology for every unit and every guest check-in to make sure the unit has the hospital grade UV light disinfection,” Dudick said.
Dudick added that common areas will be disinfected daily by using the lights in the middle of the night, or when there is otherwise no human activity, as the UV lights are harmful to people when directly exposed.
As Breckenridge Grand Vacations prepares for a reopening date of June 1, staff is being trained to operate the hotel using the new technology. Dudick said they are being trained to use the lights safely and properly to fully disinfect rooms.
“It is way beyond disinfecting a countertop or a tabletop in a unit,” Dudick said. “It’s the bedspreads. It’s the drapes. It’s the couches, the chairs, the carpet. I think that most consumers are going to begin to demand that they have the security of UV light and hospital-grade disinfectant anytime they rent a place to stay.”
Some local shop owners also are using the disinfectant capabilities of UV lights. Salon owner Melanie Ash of Melanie Ash Integrative Beauty has purchased UV lights for her salon that she plans to use during longer breaks between clients and at the end of each day to thoroughly sanitize the space. In addition to the UV lighting and required standard sanitation and facial coverings in the salon, Ash has implemented other creative ways to keep her business space as clean as possible. She asks clients to shampoo their hair prior to coming in since the stylists will be touching the client’s hair.
“It’s just another layer of keeping the space sanitized and respecting others,” Ash said.
In his Mountain Mercantile and Everything Colorado shops, co-owner Graeme Johnston has opted for a UV-based air filtration system that can run 24 hours a day.
“We’ve been looking at it for our shops and also for our homes to tell people this is what we’re doing to help get rid of (germs) in our stores and help kill all the viruses and bacteria that we didn’t think about as far as two months ago,” Johnston said. “It was a Clorox wipe and off we go.”
Johnston explained that one air purifier, which he found for $400, is sufficient to purify about 750 square feet. He said there are larger purifiers that work for larger spaces. Johnston said the UV technology available can help revive Summit County’s tourism economy.
“We have to get back and say to people with confidence that, ‘When you come up here, this is what we have done to protect your safety and also the safety of our employees, people in our society, in our community,'” Johnston said. “The air purifier is an inexpensive way to get this out.”
Johnston noted that the purifiers are easy to use as they simply plug into the wall. He stressed that additional sanitation measures businesses can take, like the UV lights and filters, will help people feel safe from coronavirus as well as anything else that travelers might bring to Summit County.
“If it works, this could be a good solution for the whole industry,” Johnston said.
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