One of the top rules of COVID-19 is to be careful when you’re indoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that businesses should be prioritizing their indoor ventilation efforts. Ensuring that buildings have a properly working HVAC system is key when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.
This is because the COVID-19 virus can travel by air. In a well-ventilated location with good air circulation, however, people will be less likely to catch the virus from someone else. While integrating as much outdoor air as possible has also been recommended, these guidelines will likely prioritize ventilated airflow efforts as we transition into colder winter months.
These efforts are especially important for businesses like restaurants serving food and beverages which will have to transition to indoor-only seating when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Customers are looking for reassurance that their dining experience will be safe and healthy. In high traffic areas, regular cleaning of high touch point surfaces is of utmost importance. As a hospitality business owner, consider hiring restaurant cleaning Mississauga or the city you’re located in, in order to ensure the safety of both the staff and the customers. Many restaurants are also spacing out tables and installing barriers between booths. With frequent cleaning, restaurants can provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. In fact, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) has officially updated their safe restaurant operations guide as we learn more about the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, scientists are still working to assess the risks associated with COVID-19 and indoor dining. But the NRA has put together a list of tips designed to keep air moving and humidity levels low, both of which can be essential in deterring COVID-19 transmission.
Here are some of the top recommendations offered by the NRA, along with some simple tips diners can perform to make indoor seating safer.
- Invest in routine maintenance checks: When was the last time you maintenanced your HVAC system or furnace? Even though these tools are designed to last from 15 to 20 years, they still need regular service to run properly. Clean your system and invest in any repairs to ensure it’s moving, filtering, and cleaning your air properly. If you notice that your restaurant is getting too humid, rely on a contractor or invest in a dehumidifier for your dining room.
That being said, you should also touch base with your property manager or landlord before you invest in these changes yourself. Homeowners pay $88 billion in assets to community associations and you’re likely spending a lot on your rent, too. If you’re renting your building, see what changes the landlord can make to ease your financial stress.
- Encourage your waitstaff to wear masks and gloves: Your staff will come into contact with a lot of people throughout the day. These safety measures will prevent your staff from coming into contact with coronavirus droplets on food and glassware as they clean the tables. Teach your staff how to safely put on and remove these items to deter transmission.
- Make wearing masks a requirement for diners: This law varies from state to state but the NRA recommends that wearing a mask should be standard procedure when you’re allowing diners inside. To ensure that everyone is staying safe, post this requirement on your website, on your store window, and at tables. Customers should be wearing their masks any time they get up from the table. If anyone is not in compliance with this rule, kicking them out or calling the police is always an option. They’ll have to pay the bail bond to get out of jail, not your restaurant. In some jurisdictions, wearing a mask is a requirement for patrons.
- Monitor the health of your employees: The last thing you want is for your restaurant to become a hotspot for the COVID-19 virus. If you’re not checking in with your staff and performing regular COVID-19 testing, you better start now. This is the best way to stop the virus from spreading at your restaurant.
- Clean, clean, clean: Clean each table, chair, and dish that comes into contact with a patron. This is standard procedure at most restaurants already, but restauranteurs should be making an added effort to thoroughly sanitize their place of business.
Operating a restaurant in the time of COVID-19 comes with countless drawbacks. Whether you’re running the restaurant or simply trying to grab a bite to eat as the customer, rely on these tips when you want to stay safer in public.