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Coronavirus

Coronavirus has convenience store staff cleaning constantly

Gas pump handles get cleaned frequently, but touched frequently, too

Jeremy Gassen of Tiskilwa fills his tank up at Beck's in Princeton. The station manager said to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus, her staff is sanitizing pump handles frequently (and they have an app to remind them when to do it again), but the handles get touched frequently, too.
Jeremy Gassen of Tiskilwa fills his tank up at Beck's in Princeton. The station manager said to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus, her staff is sanitizing pump handles frequently (and they have an app to remind them when to do it again), but the handles get touched frequently, too.

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The state recognizes gas stations as essential services. They're open for business, and so are convenience stores.

Therefore, business employees have the responsibility of keeping surfaces clean and trying to keep customers apart from one another, as the coronavirus can spread through droplets from sneezing, coughing, close contact.

And just how long the virus can survive on a surface depends upon the type of surface.

Jill Waldo, manager at Beck’s on the north side of Princeton, said new duties include constant cleaning.

“Every hour we sanitize inside the store," Waldo said. "We do all the countertops at the registers, the pin pads and any other surfaces people may touch, like counter tops in the deli and coffee center. We also do the bathrooms every hour plus all the door handles going in and out and all the cooler door handles.

“Every two hours, we go out and sanitize the pumps — the handles, key pads and anywhere else anybody would need to touch to use the gas pumps.”

They are using an app on an iPad that reminds them when to sanitize and lists what they need to sanitize.

“It reminds us to sanitize," Waldo said. "It makes a chiming noise when it’s time to do the sanitizing inside and again when it’s time to do the pumps. Basically, every hour the iPad makes a noise. It reminds us to do it so we stay on top of it.”

Is the app helpful?

“Very much so, because sometimes time gets away from you because you don’t just sit there and watch the clock.”

So how do they keep the doughnut cabinet and other food locations clean?

“It’s self-serve, but everything gets wrapped before it comes out of the kitchen area," Waldo said. "It’s only touched by the person who is making it. They wrap it so nobody else actually touches the product.”

All area convenience stores posted signs almost two weeks ago to tell customers not to bring in a refillable cup for coffee or a fountain drink. She said the customers have taken it in stride.

“They have thanked us for the extra steps we’re taking, like going outside to the gas pumps and doing the door handles inside and outside of the building. They thank us for our diligence in trying to keep them safe and us safe.”

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