Keeping friends and family safe is still a top priority
2021 is drawing to a close – and what a year it has been! As we look ahead to 2022 and what the future holds, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the journey we have been on over the past twelve months and the lessons we have learned for the future.
Cast your minds back to January. The new year began with none of the usual parties and celebrations as much of Europe was in strict lockdown due to the ongoing circulation of Covid-19. And as we progressed through the early months of the year the picture was very similar: restrictions on movement and socialising in the home; wearing masks and keeping our distance; and many schools and shops closed.
For the HORECA trade the situation was even more gloomy. Bars and restaurants in many countries were closed until the middle of the year. And while the vaccination programmes have brought greater liberty, some countries are experiencing HORECA restrictions once again as we fight a fourth wave and the new, emerging Covid variant, Omicron.
While we are all hoping that science will continue to keep one step ahead of the virus developments, many people believe that the whole business of entertainment and socialising has nevertheless changed forever. With health and hygiene top of the agenda, we are all much more aware of what we can do to minimise the spread of infection: Keep our distance from others, ensure good ventilation, and wash hands and surfaces frequently and dry them with single use towels.
People working in the catering trade and managing public venues have had to learn a whole new set of rules in order to keep staff and customers safe. It’s now standard practice to ask customers to disinfect their hands when they arrive and often to show proof of their vaccination or Covid-status. Catering staff have seen their workload increase too as they are obliged to fully disinfect seating areas between each customer and respect stricter hygiene and cleaning protocols throughout the premises.
Have you noticed that extra disinfection posts and paper towels have sprung up in public places to help people to stay safe? Public washrooms are prioritising single use towels for hand drying too as scientists have proven that they offer the most hygienic way to dry hands after a visit to the washroom. Some HORECA establishments have even disabled their electric driers because of concerns that they may circulate contaminated air in the room.
As Europe now battles with the Omicron Covid strain it’s fair to assume that these new hygiene practices are likely to be with us well into the future. Whether you are running a business and wanting to give staff and customers confidence, or just running a home and looking to keep your family and friends safe, remember the new hygiene rules and stick to them during the year ahead.
So don’t forget to add cleaning products, tissue paper and paper towels to your shopping list as you stock up with food and drinks this festive season. By taking precautions and acting responsibly we can all contribute to a happy and healthier 2022.
ETS is the European Tissue Paper Industry Association. The members of ETS represent the majority of tissue paper producers throughout Europe and around 90% of the total European tissue production. ETS was founded in 1971 and is based in Brussels. For more information: www.europeantissue.com