Public spaces like restaurants and bars are some of the many places that have the possibility of spreading COVID-19 among customers.
As restaurants and bars return to regular operations, both restaurant owners (and staff) and diners have their different parts to play in staying safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Several precautionary measures need to be taken to make eating out as safe as possible.
First, we look at the different risk levels of restaurant settings.
The Risk Levels at Restaurant or Bar Settings
The risk of COVID-19 spread increases as more individuals interact with each other. With various settings available for restaurants and bars, it’s important to note which may encourage the spread of the virus, or not.
Mild Risk: Drive-through, take-out, delivery, curbside pickup, and similar food services.
High Risk: On-site dining with outdoor seating only with reduced seating capacity that allows 6 feet apart table spacing.
Higher Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating with seating capacity that allows for 6 feet apart table spacing.
Highest Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating with no reduced seating capacity or required 6 feet apart table spacing.
Steps should be taken to modify the restaurant layouts to accommodate the necessary social distancing measures and reduce the risk of spread.
Precautions for Restaurants, Bars and Cafés
There are certain strategies that restaurants and bars need to implement among employees and customers to encourage behaviors that reduce the possibility of the spread of COVID-19. They include:
As a restaurant owner or manager, educate your employees about the risks of the virus and actively encourage them to stay home if they feel sick, have tested positive, or have come in contact with any person with COVID-19.
Policies should be put in place to encourage workers to stay off work without the fear of reprisal.
Cloth Face Coverings
Staff should have cloth face coverings on at all times, especially when physical distancing is difficult among them.
Hygiene and etiquette
The handwashing tradition should be enforced now more than ever. Whether before, during or after preparing food, or after touching menus, table tops, plates, or garbage, hands should be washed with soap for at least 25 seconds under running water.
Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol can be used in place of soap and water.
Gloves can only be used when handling dirty food items, garbage or trash and not during other services. Once gloves are removed, they should be disposed of, and hands should be washed immediately.
Tissues should be made available at all times for employees to cover coughs and sneezes. Restaurant owners need to ensure adequate supplies and sanitization stations to encourage these etiquettes are made available to staff at every point in time.
Cleaning and Disinfection
In maintaining a healthy environment, it’s important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and equipment at least once a day. Surfaces like tables, sink handles, doorknobs, bathroom stalls, workstations, payment terminals, bars should be cleaned between each use.
To ensure that surfaces are properly cleaned and disinfected, it’s necessary to use EPA recommended products and solutions that contain hydrogen peroxide.
With COVID-19, cleaning has to be taken a notch (or two) higher than the regular. Thus, it’s possible that the regular day-to-day cleaning of restaurants may not be enough. Actually, it can’t be enough. That’s why it’s important to get the services of professional cleaning agencies who can sanitize any surface and guarantee protection for staff and customers alike.
SafeFromSpread provides top-notch commercial disinfecting and sanitizing services while saving you from the stress and possibility of contamination.
It’s important to have a proper circulation of air in restaurant spaces. Ensure specific windows and doors are opened (if they don’t trigger other safety or health risks) for proper ventilation.
Putting barriers, guides and arrows at strategic areas like kitchen, bars, cash registers can help keep physical distancing in check when it’s very difficult to maintain.
Dealing with customers may be the toughest part of the job, but taking necessary steps will ensure that there’s a collaboration among parties to ensure safety for all.
Signs and Messages
Posting signs that direct customers (on how to act, where to sit and what to do) at strategic locations will ensure that they’re reminded to stay safe even while eating.
Tightened safety measures
Ensure that the number of customers in the restaurant at each point is checked and not in excess. Discourage crowd-waiting areas as much as possible and consider less risky options like drive-through, delivery and pick up services.
Precautions for Diners
Diners also have an important part to play in their safety. First, try as much as possible not to gather in groups, and if you do, insist on an outdoor setting to reduce the possibility of spread.
As a diner, ensure that the necessary safety precautions have been taken by the restaurant. Precautions like wearing of masks, table spacing and others mentioned above.
If the safety of diners and employees is paramount for you, then you should employ SafeFromSpread for your disinfecting services.