WINNIPEG -- COVID-19 has changed the way many businesses operate.

Physical distancing measures and enhanced cleaning procedures have become part of the new normal, but some businesses still have questions about what should be done to keep staff and customers safe.

Those questions may now be answered.

The Manitoba Tourism Education Council (MTEC) launched Clean-It-Right, an online training program for people in the tourism, hospitality, and retail industry.

The training is free, and it will teach participants about the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing, as well as how often to clean.

“It’s not meant to teach a person how to be a cleaner, it’s an enhanced cleaning program,” said Shannon Fontaine, CEO of MTEC.

“The main purpose is to regain consumer confidence in going back to restaurants, hotels, (and) tourism businesses.”

The program is good news for Lammuel Flores, manager of Za Pizza Bistro in Osborne Village.

He said his restaurant has stepped up cleaning procedures to continue operating during the pandemic, but he said it’s hard to know if they’re doing everything right.

“There are a lot of questions for me,” said Flores.

“It’s hard to keep track with COVID-19.”

He believes the Clean-It-Right program is a good idea; he’s considering taking it himself.

“There’s always room to learn. So if there’s anything missing in the restaurant, why not learn it now?” said Flores.

Businesses that train staff using Clean-It-Right will receive a window decal to show they’ve completed the program.

Fontaine believes the program could give businesses a competitive edge, adding customers may be more willing to visit an establishment that has completed the program.

“Going forward, when (COVID-19)’s over, this program will still be here,” she said.

“It’ll raise the standards of cleaning for hotels, restaurants, retail, and any other business that wants to take it.”

Fontaine said other provinces have reached out to see if they can implement the program, adding she has sent information to Nova Scotia, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador.