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Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: recommendations relating to textiles, and to footwear and clothing retail outlets

In view of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’ persistence and infectivity on various surfaces, what specific recommendations can be made for premises where textiles are sold or exchanged, particularly clothing, household linen and footwear?

In its notice of 6 May 2020, the HCSP reminded retailers of the importance of wearing cloth face masks, for both staff and customers, and of hand hygiene, barrier precautions, and individual approaches such as cleaning of surfaces that are frequently touched by people’s hands.

For customers, the HCSP sets out a number of recommendations, including the systematic rubbing of the hands with an alcohol-based solution on entering and leaving shops, and before entering fitting rooms. Customers are required to comply with physical distancing regarding other customers and sales staff, follow directional arrows, and allow an interval of at least 24 hours between the purchase or collection of an article, and its use.

The HCSP sets out a number of recommendations aimed at sales and maintenance staff, both as individuals and with regard to customers. For example, these include tailoring the number of incoming customers to comply with physical distancing on the basis of one person per 4 m2, and clearly informing customers, by means of posters and pictograms at entrances, about the guidelines they must adhere to.

Before articles that have been tried on or returned can be returned to the shelves, two possible options are proposed: putting them into storage for at least 24 hours, or treating them with a steamer if the article is made of a suitable material.

The HCSP suggests that wearing gloves may constitute an increased risk of manual transmission if these are worn for unsuitably long periods; this is therefore not recommended for shops or public buildings. On the other hand, the HCSP provides advice regarding the disinfection of gloves for situations where they must be worn continuously, such as for the carrying out of pat-downs.

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