Keeping Vail’s public areas clean takes a lot of work, and a lot of materials
Crews are cleaning public areas several times a day, on par with the town at its busiest
Vail is largely empty these days thanks to the COVID-19 virus, but Jose Lopez and his crew are working as hard as they ever have.
Lopez owns Clean Up Smart Cleaning. That company contracts with the town of Vail for cleaning services in all the town’s public spaces.
Lopez said he and his crew are “very busy” right now, cleaning everything a person might touch. The job takes gloves, masks, suits and a lot of material. It also takes dedication.
Lopez said he and his crew know the job, and know what it takes to stay safe. Gloves are used and discarded, hands are washed more than frequently, and everyone wears different clothes every day.
‘Disinfect and clean every little spot’
The town provides Lopez with equipment and material. And there’s a lot of material being used right now.
Janiel Turnbull is the town’s custodial supervisor. Turnbull said town crews are used to cleaning up the town’s public areas. They’re also used to going full-bore, going over certain areas multiple times a day during events like Vail America Days or the GoPro Mountain Games.
These days, with the town largely devoid of visitors, Lopez and his crew are maintaining that big-event schedule, and then some.
“We’ve had to disinfect and clean every little spot,” Turnbull said. That includes some very deep cleaning. With the Vail Public Library closed to the public, the cleaning crew spent three days in that facility, cleaning books, dusting shelves and cleaning keyboards and monitors.
“We’ve really ramped up the deep cleaning,” Turnbull said, adding that the cleaning crew is doing similar work in other buildings that are closed to the public.
Shortage of supplies
Lopez said his company returns to those areas even after they’ve been deep cleaned.
“We disinfect (the library) every day,” he said.
In places like the Vail Police Department front counter, cleaners return a few times every day. Cleaners also clean police vehicles often.
All that cleaning uses a lot of material.
Turnbull said she stocked up on a couple of disinfectants a few weeks ago. She purchased 12 cases of one product a few weeks ago. Now it’s essentially unavailable.
Bleach wipes are hard to come by right now, but Turnbull said retailers have been helpful.
The police want boxes of wipes that pop out like facial tissues. When Costco received a shipment recently, the store sold the town seven cases.
Local grocery stores will call Turnbull when they have other products in stock.
“What we have we’re trying to just baby through,” Turnbull said.
The hardest thing to come by is electrostatic sprayers. Turnbull said the town could use another pair of the machines, but they’re back-ordered through every source she can find. The machines usually cost between $600 and $700, but Turnbull said she’s seen some machines offered for sale at more than $3,000 each.
“It’s been hard,” Turnbull said.
It would be nice to have the sprayers to get into the town’s currently-idle bus fleet, Turnbull said. But that job will have to wait.
And still the cleaners clean. Turnbull called Lopez and his crew “warriors.”
Turnbull said Lopez and his people are “always willing to help out, to do extra cleaning … they’ve been incredible.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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