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  • Silvana Franze

We live in dangerous times.


Watching the news to see an entire country has been shut down, I can’t help but admire the Italians for this level of action. At first, ordinary citizens have ignored the warnings and rules, this being typical of the Italian psyche “don’t tell me how to live my life”. But things have taken on a more serious edge. My Italian cousin tells me apart from going to work, everything else literally has been shut down. What does it take to get to this stage? I’m intrigued that major cleaning and disinfecting is being carried out on airplanes, train stations, public transport, stadiums and so on. Intrigued (and rather disgusted) that it’s a rare occurrence, being put into place only when a pandemic is threatening the world’s population. As an owner of a holiday accommodation rental house, my biggest outlay has been time. Since I first started the business in 2011, I have spent hours scrubbing, scouring and washing almost every surface. I say almost because it includes the cooktop knobs, faucets, inside the washing machine, skirting boards, light switches and power points. This is in addition to the “normal” areas of vacuuming, washing wet areas and changing linen. You get the picture. I did get a guest complaining about the top of the fridge one time. It was dusty. He must have been tall. Alas I’m average height. But even though I was remarkably (not) cool headed about this, it did make me add the top of the fridge to the “normal” cleaning list. My motivation has been to provide a great space for my guests in which they can make great memories. It stems from the time my husband and I booked into a hotel at the Cross which included a couple’s massage and spa. Well I must have skipped the fine print because never in my life had I seen a filthier room. I still don’t know how we didn’t ask for a refund. My memories are of grime. Salt in the wounds, the “couple’s” massage and spa was him going into the all male section (man, was he not happy!) and I was taken to the female room where I had a bucket of hot water thrown over me, and scrubbed with a wire brush. At least that’s what it felt like. I don’t think I looked as we had all been forced to strip down to the bodies we were born with ... Anyway I digress. I’ve since expanded my business to offer Italian cooking classes. For anyone who works in the food industry, there are stringent rules and standards of hygiene around food handling to be adhered to. Failure to do so and you can be shut down. Much like Italy atm. And for a small business it can be overwhelming when the rules include hosing down the floors and scrubbing walls. How does one do that in a domestic kitchen? How many large eating establishments carry this out? I’d love to see some stats. So to watch a major prime time TV show and see the contestants touch their hair, run their fingers through their hair, flick their hair (and rub their noses) all whilst preparing food – for others to eat – is quite frankly a slap in the face for a small business like mine. We're made to jump through hoops to set up before continuing to trade. Am I angry? Yes I’d say so. The double standards are astounding. And very public! I’m not surprised outbreaks on the scale we’re seeing now are happening when it’s pretty obvious many aren’t playing by the rules. What chance does one small business have to scrub and clean and present its premises at its best when perhaps, it’s in the minority? Why has it taken this long to ensure our public places are C L E A N ? Are we asking too much to enjoy a day out somewhere with the family and not come home sick with germs? All because someone hasn’t done their job? Or because companies, corporations and government don’t ensure their employees do a thorough job. Glossing over a surface with a cloth that probably hasn’t seen soap and water isn’t good enough. Clearly. Sure, germs are everywhere. But do we want to have them for dinner? If you think I’m ocd or a little over the top, I challenge you to observe how wait staff wipe down your table next time you order a coffee. And closer to home look at your toothbrush holder and the dish drainer. Two words. Boiling water. #cleanlinessisnexttogodliness #foodhandling #foodandhygiene #nationalhygienestandards

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