It's a trend people may start to notice in places across the country, businesses are getting third party COVID-19 safety inspections and placing safety stickers on the front window, but the experts say some stickers are more meaningful than others.
As coronavirus restrictions begin to lift many consumers will still have high expectations for how businesses operate to keep them and their employees safe.
News5 spoke with Paul Medieros of NSF International, a independent company that's helped to set sanitation standards for businesses for more than 70 years. He says COVID-19 safe stickers and certifications are already being used by businesses to earn the trust of visitors. If you decide to travel to various communities and states these stickers are something you'll likely see.
"So for example, the place look clean, but was it cleaned with an approved sanitizer or disinfectant? Or was is just vinegar, or soap and water, right? The employees may look healthy, but were they actually health screened before entering work that day? So, there are things behind the curtains," said Medeiros. "I would say consumers are pretty savvy when it comes to seeing the visible things, but what can help them to see what's behind the curtain are the stickers on the door, or the seal of approval we're seeing pop up more and more on businesses."
If you do see a sticker on a business claiming it is COVID-19 safe, many of the recognized third party sanitation companies that issue them will have a website or a QR code that you can scan to get more information about that recognition and how the business secured it. If the sticker doesn't have a website, the business name, or dates of approval or expiration on it, the sticker could have come from anywhere. It may be worth asking an employee for more information if you're concerned.
"What exactly did that business have to do to earn that sticker? How was that business assessed? Was it a self assessment? Or, was it an independent third party? Because I'll say, self assessments in my opinion aren't worth the paper they are written on, but an independent third party means something," said Medeiros. "Something like a sticker can really help businesses keep themselves aligned, but also communicate that important trust to their consumers."
If you are a local business owner who wants to learn more about the COVID-19 safe sticker certification process, NSF International is already working with businesses across the country and would be happy to answer any questions you have.
Here are a list of NSF resources for consumers and businesses.
Search for NSF Certified products:
NSF Consumer resources on a wide variety of topics.
NSF Consumer tips on COVID
Resources for business
Who is NSF?
NSF’s Checked by NSF program