COVID-Safe Workflow for house help in India

Hitanshu Gandhi    Updated
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[Disclaimer: In an ideal universe, or for those with 24 hour help at home, or no children and a perfect work life balance, the ideal solution is to not let any outsiders in the house. I am not one of those lucky folks, nor seeking to debate about this. Read on if you are like me – click the X if you aren’t – Thanks!]

Firstly – while the help is working outside the kitchen- ALL residents must wear masks and open as many windows as possible. Indoor within-family transmission accounted for 80% cases in China.

A. They should wash utensils with gloves only and put them to dry. We put them back in the cupboard ourselves.
B. Mopping / pocha in the house should ideally be using the standing mop which is spray sterilized after use. If s/he exerts more, they transmit more COVID as seen in Korean fitness classes.
I further sanitize all door knobs after they’ve done their job.
C. S/he must cook food with minimum touching it after finalization e.g
Rotis should be handled using chimta (forceps?) and ideally the resident must put rotis in the casserole themselves, Sabzi should be left in the cooker or kadhai.
D. If one insists the help puts the food into casseroles then one should gently sanitize the casserole using wipes after the cook puts roti or sabzi inside it.

My rationale for this SOP – basically both tasks are self-sterilized upon completion:
a. Utensils- because they were washed with soap
b. Food because it is cooked at high heat. We make our salads ourselves.

Any further tasks – such as putting dry utensils back in cupboard, refilling water bottles or putting food in fridge, is our job. That’s where there is non-self-sanitizing contact.

PS: This SOP is humane and considers that either the resident or house help could be infected and basically minimizes any un-sanitized contact between either party. I do not think making the help change clothes or footwear makes much sense whatsoever.

X-posted at TeamBHP too.