Coronavirus Resource Center

Industry-specific resources for linen, uniform and facility services customers, employees and others, as well as advisories and Executive Orders from state, national and worldwide agencies and organizations pertaining to safe operations as essential services processing reusable textiles during the international COVID-19 Crisis.

Essential Services Guidance | Industry ReliefEducation and Training | TRSA News
For Your Leadership Team | For Your Employees | For Your Customers
Additional Resources | Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED 4:49 PM EST  3/27/2020



Industry Relief

TRSA has addressed an official proposal to President Donald J. Trump, Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pushing for a $114-billion relief package for the linen, uniform and facility services industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposal to President Trump | Proposal to Leader McConnell | Proposal to Speaker Pelosi
Contact Congress – Tell them to Save Our Industry
TRSA Stimulus Package (CARES Act) Overview (Members Only)



Education and Training

Coronavirus/COVID-19: Communication Tools for Your Customers, Employees and Leadership Team

This live webinar on Wednesday, March 11 (noon Eastern time) will discuss what’s known about how the virus spreads and suggest what to say to the most important stakeholders in your business about its strategies for contending with the disease. Perspectives from an epidemiologist, industry human resources professional and TRSA.

View Now | Webinar Slides

 

 

Precautions for Protection: Handling Soiled Healthcare Linen

Provides route associates, soil sorters, loaders and other affected personnel with step-by-step process of properly applying Universal Precautions to prevent the spread of infections through safe handling of healthcare textiles throughout handing/transporting/processing/delivery.

View Now (English) | View Now (Spanish)

 

Hotel/Hospitality – COVID-19 Discussion

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, TRSA hosted a series of market-specific teleconferences in efforts to facilitate discussions and information sharing pertaining to a coronavirus response.

In the Hotel/ Hospitality Market Sector Teleconference, members discussed:

  • Impact on plant equipment, route size, service frequency
  • Communicating with employees to get them back post-crisis
  • Role of outsourced laundry in future hotel industry recovery

View Now

 

F&B/Restaurant – COVID-19 Discussion

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, TRSA hosted a series of market-specific teleconferences in efforts to facilitate discussions and information sharing pertaining to a coronavirus response.

In the F&B Market Sector Teleconference, members and TRSA leadership discuss:

  • Operational impact, i.e., layoffs, closures
  • Alternative revenue opportunities
  • Planning and preparing for post-crisis recovery

View Now

 

Industrial/Uniform – COVID-19 Discussion

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, TRSA hosted a series of market-specific teleconferences in efforts to facilitate discussions and information sharing pertaining to a coronavirus response.

In the Industrial/ Uniform Sector Teleconference, members and TRSA leadership discuss:

  • PPE, disinfection and social distancing for route salespeople
  • Dust control in the age of hypersensitivity to infection potential
  • Increased emphasis on selling facility services products

View Now

 

Healthcare – COVID-19 Discussion

In lieu of the regularly scheduled Healthcare committee call and meeting we were scheduled to have next Wednesday, we will facilitate a market specific discussion and information sharing session pertaining to COVID-19 highlighting best management practices and identifying market sector specific issues and opportunities to promote Hygienically Clean processes, procedures and textiles.

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, TRSA hosted a series of market-specific teleconferences in efforts to facilitate discussions and information sharing pertaining to a coronavirus response.

In the Healthcare Sector Teleconference, members and TRSA leadership discuss:

  • Best management practices
  • Identifying market sector specific issues
  • Opportunities to promote Hygienically Clean processes, procedures and textiles

View Now




For Your Leadership Team

Procedures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for protecting employees and controlling the spread in workplaces of the COVID-19 disease by the 2019-nCoV virus; guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), TRSA and other international laundry experts on processing potentially contaminated items.

Employer and Laundry Guidance | New Coronavirus Relief Laws Require Paid Employee Leave



For Your Employees

Answers to commonly asked questions (Q&A) on risks and characteristics of the virus and personal strategies; from the CDC, illustrated personal practices (posters) to control the spread of the virus and instructions for handwashing and hand sanitizer use.

What to Know and Do Q&A (English) | What to Know and Do Q&A (Spanish)
Know the Symptoms (English) | Know the Symptoms (Spanish)
Stop the Spread of Germs (English) | Stop the Spread of Germs (Spanish)
Wash Your Hands the Right Way | How to Use Hand Sanitizer | Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands
When to Use a Mask | N95: Myth vs. Fact



For Your Customers

Description of our industry’s capabilities for combating the presence of COVID-19 on textiles, highlighting readiness to continue serving customers in a large-scale outbreak.

Prepared for COVID-19 (Members Only)



Additional Resources

Consult these organizations’ sites for health alerts on COVID-19.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public
Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-19)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) How to Prepare
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Travel: Frequently Asked Questions
Coronavirus: Human Coronavirus Types
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
What You Need To Know About Handwashing

U.S. Department of Labor

Coronavirus Resources
DOL Guidance on “Family First” Act – Paid Sick Leave and Extended Family and Medical Leave

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (English)| Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Spanish)
U.S. Department of Labor Issues Temporary Enforcement Guidance for Respirator Fit-Testing in Healthcare during COVID-19 Outbreak
Bloodborne Pathogens: Worker Protections Against Occupational Exposure to Infectious Diseases

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

John Hopkins University

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE (Desktop)
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE (Mobile)

National Association of Manufacturers

State COVID Operations Snapshot

U.S. Travel Association

Emergency Preparedness and Response: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

U.S. Small Business Administration

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Fisher Phillips (TRSA Legal Business Solutions Partner)

A Message From Our Chairman
Comprehensive And Updated FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 Legal Alerts
COVID-19 Industry & Practice Group Guidance
COVID-19 Data Bank (Templates & Forms)
COVID-19 Taskforce Members

Supplemental Coronavirus (COVID-19) Videos

What This Chart Actually Means for COVID-19



Frequently Asked Questions

1. With a 6-hour active life on linen, would leaving potentially contaminated soil in bag/cart for 6 hours eliminate potential employee exposure? Any update on how long COVID-19 lasts on linens?

COVID-19 is a NEW strand of coronavirus. The new strand is being studied by healthcare professionals worldwide. As new information becomes available, we will provide updates. All of the information that is currently being shared is based off of what healthcare professionals worldwide know about how previous strands of the virus have behaved on surfaces, linens, uniforms and other reusable textiles

The World Health Organization estimates the lifetime of the disease is between a few hours and a few days. According to the CDC, coronaviruses like COVID-19 can survive on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to a few days. it’s more likely to catch COVID-19 from person-to-person contact. While you can contract the virus from hard surfaces that are frequently touched, like doorknobs or railings, there have been NO reported cases of this happening. Washing your hands and increasing housekeeping with disinfection chemicals is the best means to protect you and our team. Standard hygienically clean laundering processes kill the COVID-19 virus, preventing it from infecting you or others. While research is still being done, we do know COVID-19 is mainly being spread via droplets emitted during coughing or sneezing. When dealing with hard surfaces, a simple disinfectant should suffice-the EPA has posted a list of cleaners that should be effective at sanitizing surfaces after exposure to COVID-19. While the CDC doesn’t specifically outline any changes to your typical laundry routine, they do provide a list of best practices when doing laundry for someone who’s ill:

  1. Ideally, wear disposable gloves and discard them after each use. When using reusable gloves, only use those gloves for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces infected with COVID-19—do not use them for any other household purpose. Wash your hands immediately after using the gloves. If you aren’t using gloves when handling dirty laundry, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
  2. Try to not shake the dirty laundry. Shaking the laundry carries a possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.
  3. If possible, use the warmest water setting on your washer and ensure items are dried completely afterwards.
  4. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
  5. If possible, consider placing a bag liner in your hamper that’s disposable or can be laundered. Otherwise, ensure the hamper itself is washed and sanitized.
  6. Additionally, consider having the clothes you wear around the house separated from clothes you’ve worn while you were outside to protect the environment inside your home.

2. Why does TRSA advocate for incineration of linens?

TRSA does NOT advocate for the incineration of linens. TRSA recommends following CDC and OSHA guidelines for the handling of COVID-19 linens. The directive is to follow Standard and Universal Precautions. Please refer to this page’s section titled Six Cs of Handling Soiled Linen in a Healthcare Environment, for guidance on handling soiled healthcare linen. We are closely following updates from the CDC, WHO and others. If this changes, we will certainly provide an update.

3. Once COVID-19 is attached to linens, can the virus actually get airborne? I am being told COVID-19 cannot detach (become airborne) from the linen.

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.

According to OSHA regulations, handle contaminated textiles and fabrics with minimum agitation to avoid contamination of air, surfaces, and persons (36, 293, 355, 356). Category IC (OSHA: 29 CFR 1910.1030 § d.4.iv). Visit OSHA’s Hospital eTool on Laundry for more.

4. What outside weather temperature will start killing the bacteria? Will the cold weather kill the COVID-19? The news said that the warm weather kills it.

A study published in The Journal of Hospital Infection analyzed several dozen previously published papers on human coronaviruses (other than the new coronavirus, COVID-19) to get a better idea of how long they can survive outside of the body. They concluded that if COVID-19 resembles other human coronaviruses, such as its “cousins” that cause SARS and MERS, it can stay on surfaces — such as metal, glass or plastic — for as long as nine days. In comparison, flu viruses can last on surfaces for only about 48 hours. But some of them don’t remain active for as long at temperatures higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). The authors also found that these coronaviruses can be effectively wiped away by household disinfectants.

Learn more about how long COVID-19 will last on surfaces and how to clean those surfaces here.

5. How long can COVID-19 last on surfaces?

According to NIH, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but there have been no documented cases of the patients catching the virus from touching surfaces and it is NOT the primary source of the spread of the virus. The virus is spread from person-to-person which is why emphasis has been on social distancing and quarantining. Visit here for the National Institute of Health’s information on how COVID-19 spreads.

According to the CDC, coronaviruses like COVID-19 can survive on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to a few days. While it’s more likely to catch COVID-19 from person to person contact and from hard surfaces that are frequently touched, like door knobs or railings, washing your laundry can help clean away COVID-19, preventing it from infecting you or others.

A new analysis found that COVID-19 can remain viable in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours. This study, Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1, was originally published in the preprint database medRxiv on March 11, and a revised version was published March 17 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Additional studies and articles about how long COVID-19 can last on surfaces can be found at The Journal of Hospital Infection and Reviewed.com.

6. Can you offer ideas about liberal sick day use while being able to effectively staff our plants?

Catalina Dongo, Director of Human Resources  for UniFirst Corporation, offers this advice:

“Essentially, we have relaxed our attendance policy so that no absences related to COVID-19 will be counted against the employee. We are giving employees the option in regard to pay replacement. They are able to select from their PTO banks such sick pay or vacation pay, or unpaid leave if none available or if they prefer. We anticipate there will be additional regulation issued by the States and/or the Federal Government that may provide for pay replacement.

The reality is that we expect a significant increase in absenteeism. We are working with our managers to implement flexible schedules. Meaning, some employees may not be able to come to work during the day because of school closures. However, they may be able to come in in the evening. Some managers are implementing second and third shifts in order to get the work done. Other employees have been willing to pick up extra hours, which also helps. We may have employees who experience reduced workloads due to customer closures. For example, sales reps. These employees should be invited to help in areas where we are experiencing high absenteeism.”

7. What are the differences between a surgical mask and an N95 mask and when should they be used?

A surgical mask is a loose-fitting, disposable device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment. These are often referred to as face masks, although not all face masks are regulated as surgical masks. Note that the edges of the mask are not designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth.

An N95 respirator mask is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. Note that the edges of the respirator are designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth. Surgical N95 Respirators are commonly used in healthcare settings and are a subset of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs), often referred to as N95s.

The similarities among surgical masks and surgical N95s are:

  1. They are tested for fluid resistance, filtration efficiency (particulate filtration efficiency and bacterial filtration efficiency), flammability and biocompatibility.
  2. They should not be shared or reused.

Most N95 respirators are manufactured for use in construction and other industrial type jobs that expose workers to dust and small particles. They are regulated by the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, some N95 respirators are intended for use in a health care setting. Specifically, single-use, disposable respiratory protective devices used and worn by health care personnel during procedures to protect both the patient and health care personnel from the transfer of microorganisms, body fluids, and particulate material. These surgical N95 respirators are class II devices regulated by the FDA, under 21 CFR 878.4040, and CDC NIOSH under 42 CFR Part 84.

To learn more about N95 respirators and surgical masks, visit FDA.gov.

8. Does the linen service industry do annual N95 mask fit testing?

According to OSHA, if you are using N95 masks or respirators, they must be used as outlined below:

  • Respirator use must be in the context of a complete respiratory protection program in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
  • Staff should be medically cleared and fit-tested if using respirators with tight-fitting facepieces (e.g., a NIOSH-certified disposable N95) and trained in the proper use of respirators, safe removal and disposal, and medical contraindications to respirator use.

Other general N95 respirator precautions should be taken as well. People with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other medical conditions that make breathing difficult should check with their health care provider before using an N95 respirator because the N95 respirator can make it more difficult for the wearer to breathe. Some models have exhalation valves that can make breathing out easier and help reduce heat build-up. Note that N95 respirators with exhalation valves should not be used when sterile conditions are needed.

To learn more about N95 respirators and surgical masks, visit FDA.gov.

9. Are you recommending wearing a mask in soil department?

According to the World Health Organization, there is a world-wide shortage of masks. The recommendation is to use masks wisely. Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face mask can only be used once. It is recommended but not required that workers handling soiled healthcare linen wear masks.

Please see FAQ #3 about how the virus is spread.

10. If COVID-19 can be transmitted via aerosol, should service reps entering medical facilities wear a respirator mask?

We recommend social distancing for pickup and delivery. The WHO, CDD and TRSA are not recommending respirators (N95 masks) as they can cause more health damages than benefits. They tax the body more, making it more difficult to breath. Beyond a dust mask, you need to ensure that someone is fit to wear one. OSHA has certain requirements for these masks. According to the WHO, studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.

11. What are the thoughts about separating potentially contaminated linens at the hospitals and washing them separately?

While you should treat all linens as contaminated with the COVID-19 virus, using standard PPE, such as gloves and gowns, and bagging linens is enough to protect employees. These linens do not have to be washed separately. According to OSHA standards, normal laundry cycles should be used according to the washer and detergent manufacturer’s recommendations. Visit OSHA’s Hospital eTool on Laundry for more.

For the laundry industry, there are no recommended changes in normal laundry handling and processing of textiles from the CDC, as the current textile processing standard of appropriate time, temperature and chemical will kill the virus. For employee exposure risk on the sorting side, again the CDC has made no recommended changes in textile handling procedures at this time. Viruses usually do not live outside a live host for long periods, especially on porous surfaces like textiles, limiting the potential exposure risk to laundry personnel who will be handling the laundry hours or days after use.

12. How should we handle employee travel? Should they or we take any particular precautions when they return?

This will continue to change based on travel restrictions. In general, crowded spaces should be avoided, such as a cruise. If tests are available, employees who traveled should be tested before returning to work. Until they can be tested, they should self-quarantine. In the TRSA COVID-19 Webinar, Catalina Dongo, Director of Human Resources at UniFirst Corperation, suggests that people should stay home if they have symptoms and to self-monitor and report before returning back to work.

According to the CDC CARE (Check And Record Everyday) Guide, you should take a temperature twice a day and be able to show it is below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit .

13. Do you have a truck or vehicle cleaning and disinfection checklist?

All Hygienically Clean Certified Facilities MUST follow the transportation guidelines for their specific segments. You may find these recommendations on the HygienicallyClean.org under the market-specific certifications standards.

Below is the recommendation for Healthcare under section 5.1.3.4. Transportation:

  • The QA manual must describe in detail procedures for the following functions:
    • The process for servicing accounts must be designed and executed to prevent cross-contamination.
    • Service reps must be trained on pick-up/delivery.
    • Items must be covered during transportation to prevent cross-contamination.
    • Items shall be transported in designated and covered containers.
    • Service trucks shall be cleaned on a regular basis to minimize infection and contamination.
    • Trucks shall be swept out daily and decontaminated at least twice a month.
    • Reusable cart covers must be cleaned after every use.
    • Proper PPE and gloves must be worn at all times when handling soiled linen.
    • All linen retrieved from a customer location and delivered to the soiled processing area must be cleaned prior to delivery to the customer.All clean and unused linen retrieved from a customer that maintains proper functional separation and is delivered to the clean processing area may be used for redelivery to the customer. Prior to redelivery, the linen must be rotated and restocked.
    • A designated transition area with stated process controls must be identified to remove potentially soiled cart covers prior to delivering exchange carts to the clean processing area.

14. Should we bag soiled hospitality linen?

Linen providers who support the healthcare market handle potentially infections materials daily. It’s always been understood that every piece of soiled linen be treated as if it were potentially infectious.

During this time, we suggest you consider taking similar precautions like those implemented by our teams that support the healthcare market.

Transmission based precautions are the second tier of basic infection control and are to be used with standard precautions (Proper Hand Hygiene, PPE, handle textile and laundry carefully, clean and disinfect environment surfaces, etc.).

15.What is the proper way for healthcare facilities to turn in linen containing COVID-19?

Existing OSHA regulations specify that any linen saturated with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) should be placed in impermeable bags. Learn more about what OSHA says about handling contaminated healthcare linen here.

16. How do we get the suppliers and supply chain serving the laundries, also deemed "essential"?

There are many interpretations with several states including California, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada and Pennsylvania have specifically provided guidance confirming commercial laundries as ‘essential services’ with New York and New Jersey allowing laundry operations as ‘necessary to ensure the safety, sanitation and operations of essential services.’ TRSA is working on Illinois and others that are closing or considering closing, while also assuming they are all closing. TRSA is working with contacts and consultants to get letters to all state governors and other state/federal agencies. If you are a supplier for services that are deemed a “Life Saving Business,” you should be covered in the same states and municipalities that recognize linen, uniform and facility services as lifesaving or essential.

Facility Support Services under the larger Professional and Business Services heading. Looking at the NAICS Code for Facilities Support Services, the linen, uniform and facility services industry clearly falls into that category.

  • NAICS Code 561210 – Facilities Support Services: Establishments in this industry typically provide a combination of services, such as janitorial, maintenance, trash disposal, guard and security, mail routing, reception, laundry, and related services to support operations within facilities.