What is the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

In December 2019, a new virus from the coronavirus family, originally named 2019-nCoV, was detected in the city of Wuhan, China. This virus is now called SARS-CoV-2. The disease associated with this virus is COVID- 19.

Since this initial detection, person-to-person transmission has been confirmed and the virus has been found in many countries around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Symptoms of infection

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:




Breathing difficulties

Symptoms can be mild (similar to a cold) or more severe (such as those associated with pneumonia and lung or kidney failure). In rare cases, the disease can lead to death. Those most at risk of complications are people who are immunocompromised, those with chronic illnesses, and the elderly.

Transmission of COVID-19

COVID-19 seems to be spread most often by coming into close contact (within 1 metre/ 3 feet) of an infected person when he or she coughs or sneezes, or by touching your mouth, nose or eyes after having touched an infected surface. According to the FDA, exposure to contaminated food is not known to be a significant route of transmission of COVID-19.

General preventive measures

Measures to follow to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19:

  • Adopt good hygiene and infection prevention practices
  • Reduce contact with any potentially infected person or surface.
  • Wear personal protective equipment when a risk of infection is confirmed.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cover your mouth and nose to cough or sneeze.
  • If you become ill, stay at home until your symptoms disappear.
  • Clean often, paying particular attention to frequently touched surfaces.
  • Follow the most up-to-date news from public health organizations and government sources.

Consult our educational bulletin to learn more about COVID-19 and how to prevent it from spreading

Educational Bulletin

We have created a coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic preparedness checklist so that you are ready for any eventuality.


Frequently Asked Questions: Get answers from our experts

Because this coronavirus is new and evolving rapidly, our experts will be updating our frequently asked questions regularly.  We encourage you to consult it frequently to get answers to your questions.

Supply & Distribution

Our supply chain team is closely monitoring the situation for both finished products and raw materials. In the event of any supply problems, some substitutes are currently available and the search for other substitutes continues.

  • We have increased our reserve stocks of key products and raw materials from affected countries to maintain our level of service and minimize back orders.
  • We are using our global network to source from other regions as needed.
  • We are actively monitoring demand and stock levels for key products.
  • We have adapted our production plants to manage the increase in demand for certain products.
  • Our factory is actively working to make alternative hand and surface disinfection products available to compensate for any stock shortages that may occur with the suppliers of our distribution products.

We have several branches across Canada that are exploring local solutions. We are are also working on corporate-level solutions. Should we run into any major problems for a specific region, our other branches can help to fill any gaps.

The majority of ingredients we use in our formulas are still available from our main suppliers. These ingredients may also be available from secondary suppliers who have already passed our internal approval process. In the event of a major supply problem, substitute products may be considered.

For a complete list of Sani Marc products that can be used against COVID-19, please contact your account manager or see our ecommerce website

  • We have implemented corporate-level initiatives to ensure the safety of our employees and to ensure our operations continue across the country.
  • We have also put emergency plans in place to minimize any supply disruptions for the raw materials we use to manufacture our own products. We currently expect little to no disruptions in the supply of raw materials or components.

We ask that our customers place their orders well in advance, given that delivery times may be longer than usual.

Currently, no reputable manufacturer of cleaning products can guarantee the absence of COVID-19 in its products for the following reasons:

  1. The equipment needed to perform this type of test is not available, nor would it be technically possible to test each and every product that is manufactured.
  1. Even if it were possible, the manufacturer could not guarantee that its products are not contaminated during shipping.

However, Sani Marc has put strict rules in place to minimize the risk of contamination for its products:

  1. Only essential production personnel are allowed to enter our facilities. All personnel who can work remotely must work from home.
  1. All employees with suspicious symptoms or who are considered at-risk (those who are returning from a trip, have been in contact with others who are sick, etc.) have been ordered to not report for work and must immediately notify their immediate supervisor in order to manage the risk of contamination.
  1. All critical areas are being regularly cleaned and disinfected to limit the risk of contamination.
  1. All equipment used in production is being cleaned to prevent the risk of contamination.

We want to stress that the vast majority of products we manufacture are not a conducive environment for the family of coronaviruses.

Sani Marc currently has a number of products for fighting COVID-19. We are also working around the clock to add to this list of products. We recommend that you speak with your Sani Marc representative to see what products are available to you.

Many people are tempted to make their own hand sanitizer to circumvent possible inventory shortages.

As a manufacturer of these products, we have full control over our production chain. At the current time, we believe our supply network and production capacities will allow us to continue meeting customer demand as long as this demand is kept to a reasonable level.

We discourage any efforts to make your own hand sanitizer for the following reasons:

  • Risk of accidents when handling flammable materials and the harmful vapours that can be emitted when handling them in large quantities.
  • No guarantee of the product’s effectiveness.
  • No control over quality.

Symptoms and Treatment

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause very mild to severe illness consisting of fever, and/or cough, other upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and difficulty breathing (shortness of breath). Complications from COVID-19 can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure and in some cases, death.

The World Health Organization advises that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 10 to 14 days after being exposed to someone with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This time period may also be refined as new information comes out.

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition.

If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold or are lasting longer than usual, see your health care practitioner. If you need immediate medical attention, you should call 911 and mention your travel history and symptoms.

No. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own.

There is no reason to wear a mask if you are well. There is little evidence that wearing a mask in public prevents a healthy person from becoming ill. Masks may provide a false sense of security and may increase risk, as people continually check their masks and touch their faces without first having washed hands. If you are sick, wearing a mask helps prevent you from passing on illnesses to other people.

COVID-19 is diagnosed by a healthcare provider based on travel history, symptoms, and laboratory tests.

Coronavirus is spread from an infected person through:

  • Droplets spread when a person coughs or sneezes
  • Close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Prevention and Risks

Hand Hygiene

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available,
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • for hand sanitizing, Health Canada recommends using a product with an NPN and containing between 60 and 80% alcohol.

Respiratory Etiquette

To stop the spread of germs that can make others sick, you should always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put your used tissue in a waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hand.

Environmental Cleaning

The WHO estimates that the COVID-19 virus can live on environmental surfaces for up to 9 days. Clean high-touch surfaces frequently with an approved disinfectant. Health Canada recommends a disinfectant with a general virucidal claim. High touch surfaces include:

  • Door handles and knobs
  • Light switches
  • Hand rails
  • Elevator buttons
  • Phones
  • Sinks and faucets
  • Restroom stalls and dispensers
  • Vending machines
  • Food preparation surfaces
  • Breakroom, restaurant and cafe tables and chairs
  • Microwave, refrigerator and kitchen appliance
  • handles
  • Coffee machines
  • Copier, printer and fax control buttons
  • Cabinet and file drawer handles
  • Hand rails
  • Chair arms
  • Desks
  • Countertops
  • Front desk and lobby surfaces
  • Equipment controls
  • Wheelchairs and walkers
  • Computer keyboards and mouse
  • Remote controls
  • Recreation equipment
  • toys

Social Distancing

Avoid handshakes and greetings that require close contact.

Avoid contact with people who are sick and keep a 2-metre distance from anyone you suspect of being sick.

Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick.

Stay Home If You Are Sick

Stay home from work or school when you are sick. Staying home helps prevent spreading your illness to others. In particular, young children, people over 65 years of age, and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of severe illness and even death from common viruses, such as influenza (“the flu”).

Coughs can force out thousands of tiny droplets of saliva which can spread germs. In fact, 3,000 droplets are expelled in a single cough, and some of the droplets can fly out of your mouth at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Sneezes are even worse than coughs for spreading germs because they can produce as many as 40,000 tiny droplets of saliva which can exit your nose and mouth at speeds greater than 200 miles per hour. By covering your coughs and your sneezes, you can help prevent the spread of germs to others. Also, always remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.


  • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
  • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards.

According to the World Health Organization:

“It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).”

On March 17, 2020, The New England Journal of Medicine published an article on the stability of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and SARS-CoV-1. According to the article, the half-life of COVID-19 on different materials was summarized as follows:

Conditions Half-Life
Copper 46
Aerosol droplets 66
Cardboard 210
Stainless steel 338
Plastic 409

According to the World Health Organization:

“Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

Food and Beverage Industry

The sanitizers and disinfectants generally used in the food & beverage industry are powerful enough to effectively control the pathogenic and harmful microorganisms found in the industry. Unfortunately, their effectiveness against COVID-19 has not yet been tested.

In Canada, Health Canada regulates the use of hard surface disinfectants (DIN products) as well as hand sanitizers (products with an NPN). It also carries out scientific assessments of products.

COVID-19 is a new virus and currently there are no disinfectants with claims specific to COVID-19.

After analyzing the situation, Health Canada has decided that disinfectants with a DIN and that have a general virucidal claim and/or a claim specific to the coronavirus are considered effective against COVID-19 and can be used on hard surfaces provided they are used according to the label instructions.

COVID-19 poses a much greater risk to public health than the risks related to food safety.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), person-to-person contamination remains the main risk of transmitting COVID-19. The risk of transmitting COVID-19 from infected surfaces is also likely.

As a safety measure, we recommend cleaning and disinfecting common areas, paying particular attention to frequently touched surfaces (telephones, light switches, computers, desks and worktops, etc.). Here are some examples of more at-risk work areas:

  • Break rooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Locker rooms
  • Offices
  • Meeting or conference rooms

These areas should be cleaned and disinfected regularly with products effective against COVID-19.

According to the FDA, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.

If your current procedures are meeting your cleaning and sanitation standards, we recommend that these be continued as usual.

Special attention must be paid to restricting access to production areas to essential staff only.

Strict compliance with basic hygiene rules and the wearing of protective equipment must be scrupulously observed at all times.

We do not recommend the widespread use of disinfectants effective against COVID-19 in production areas, given that current procedures are adequately meeting quality objectives and are ensuring the safety of employees.

As soon as a worker is confirmed to have COVID-19, you must ensure that he or she is under the care of competent health authorities and notify anyone who may have come into contact with this person. Potentially contaminated workers should be managed according to government guidelines.

All manufactured products that may have been contaminated must be isolated. Food safety must be assessed according to Health Canada and CFIA guidelines.

We recommend carrying out cleaning and sanitation operations as usual.

In such a case, a disinfectant effective against COVID-19 can be applied very locally to all frequently touched surfaces that the employee may have touched, such as touchscreens, activation buttons and workspaces. This measure will add an extra layer of safety. These disinfectants must be used according to their label instructions and in a very localized manner only.

Keep in mind that the risk of spreading COVID-19 through food is very low. Widespread use of these disinfectants can cause corrosion or health and safety issues.

For additional information, please speak with your account manager

According to the FDA, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.

The T.A.C.T. procedures normally used in CIP are sufficient for meeting cleaning and sanitation standards and will ensure the safety of your employees. We recommend continuing these procedures as usual.

Strict compliance with basic hygiene rules and the wearing of protective equipment must be scrupulously observed during all manual operations.
Special attention must be paid to restricting access to production areas to essential staff only.

We advise against the widespread use of disinfectants effective against COVID-19 in CIP or soaking systems as these virucidal products must generally be used at very high concentrations. The majority of these products are very powerful oxidants and may cause irreversible corrosion to production equipment.

These virucidal products are unsuitable for cleaning in place systems and generally not compatible with them. They should only be used in a very localized manner on parts that have been handled by an infected person.

Being Prepared

For individuals, these are the most important ways that you can protect yourself and your family from respiratory illness, including COVID-19:

  • Make a plan
    • What you will do if you become sick. If you are a caregiver, have a backup plan.
  • Fill your prescriptions
  • Stock up on essentials but avoid panic buying – The reason for stocking up on these items is not because you will need to self-isolate. Having these supplies on hand will ensure you do not need to leave your home at the peak of the outbreak or if you become Ill.
  • How to care for those who are ill – To prepare for this potential situation, you should have on hand:
    • soap
    • facial tissue
    • paper towels
    • alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • household cleaning products
    • regular detergents for washing dishes and doing laundry
    • fever-reducing medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
    • this includes products for children if you are a parent or caregiver
    • plastic garbage bags for containing soiled tissues and other waste
    • Approved disinfectant or household bleach for creating a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to disinfect surfaces
  • Get reliable information
    • The Public Health Agency of Canada is a reliable source of information, as are provincial and territorial public health authorities.
  • Communicate with family, friends and neighbours
    • Let your family, friends and neighbours know that you are making plans to prepare for COVID-19. Share your plan with them, as this might motivate them to make their own.
    • Talk to them about a buddy system in which you agree to check in on each other and run essential errands if you become sick.

For workplaces

Employers and employees have a role to play in reducing the spread of infection.

General advice

  • Increase awareness about COVID-19 through communication with staff.
  • Evaluate the workplace for areas where people have frequent contact with each other and shared objects.
  • Increase the distance between desks and workstations as well as employees and customers (ideally 2 metres).
  • A physical barrier like a cubicle or Plexiglas window also works to increase distance between people.


  • Encourage frequent hand hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette, and staying home when ill.
  • Consider providing additional tissues should someone develop symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If COVID-19 symptoms develop, the employee should immediately be separated from others and sent home without using public transit, if possible.

Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting with an approved disinfectant that has general virucidal claims. Pay particular attention to high-touch surfaces, such as:

  • Door handles and knobs
  • Light switches
  • Hand rails
  • Elevator buttons
  • Phones
  • Sinks and faucets
  • Restroom stalls and dispensers
  • Vending machines
  • Food preparation surfaces
  • Breakroom, restaurant and cafe tables and chairs
  • Microwave, refrigerator and kitchen appliance
  • handles
  • Coffee machines
  • Copier, printer and fax control buttons
  • Cabinet and file drawer handles
  • Hand rails
  • Chair arms
  • Desks
  • Countertops
  • Front desk and lobby surfaces
  • Equipment controls
  • Wheelchairs and walkers
  • Computer keyboards and mouse
  • Remote controls
  • Recreation equipment
  • Toys
  • Restaurant tables and menus

Provide access to handwashing areas and place hand sanitizing dispensers in prominent locations throughout the workplace, if possible.

Flexible work arrangements and sick leave

Where feasible, adjust policies to reduce social contact, such as:

  • flexible hours
  • staggering start times
  • teleworking arrangements
  • using email and teleconferencing

Relax sick leave policies to support employees in self-isolating when ill.

  • This includes suspending the need for medical notes and reduces the burden on an already stressed health care system.

Prepare for increases in absenteeism due to illness among employees and their families or possibly school closures.

  • Access your business continuity plan for how to maintain key business functions if faced with high absenteeism.
  • Consider the need for cross-training personnel to function in key positions.


Workplace closures may be considered in an exceptional circumstance and should be based on a risk assessment. This may be the case if many employees must be off to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For business travel, check the latest information on affected areas and any travel health notices. Consider the risks and benefits related to upcoming business travel. It may be better for the health and safety of your employee if they attend meetings virtually.

International business travellers returning from affected areas should self-monitor for symptoms. Employees should contact the public health authority in the province or territory where they live.

For more information, please consult these resources from Public Health Canada:

Prevention and awareness posters

Download and display our prevention and awareness posters:

download the poster
download the poster
download the poster

Placing an Order

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing a very high volume of orders and longer than normal delivery times. We are working hard to put additional measures in place to improve this situation and meet demand.

If you would like to become a new customer, rest assured that we will contact you as soon as we are able to serve you. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

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Most up-to-date information from official sources

For more information about COVID-19, please consult the following official sources of information: