Dining out is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether it’s done with your partner, family, friends, or office colleagues, dining out is enjoyable. There is something truly delightful in sharing meals with the important people in your life, without having to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a sumptuous feast.
The threat of the coronavirus, however, has made people wary of dining out. Dining out was even prohibited during the height of the pandemic scare when lockdowns were implemented. Take outs, deliveries, and eating at home became the norm for several weeks. There is nothing wrong with a healthy home-cooked meal, but sometimes, dining out can help relieve stress.
With restrictions being lifted and businesses are given the go signal to reopen, many restaurant owners are also reopening their doors to their loyal patrons. Although there will certainly be changes, it is a welcome relief to people who were stressed with the isolation protocols and the fear brought about by the pandemic.
If you are a restaurant owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your restaurant is safe for your patrons and employees. Besides ensuring that you serve only the best-tasting and healthy food, you must take precautions against the Corona Virus.
Cleanliness will make a big difference.
How you maintain the cleanliness of your establishment can make or break you. Keep the surfaces in your restaurant clean and disinfected all the time. After a customer has vacated a table, do not let other customers use it immediately. Wipe it clean and disinfect it before you let another customer use it.
High-touch surfaces, such as the tap and door handles, must be disinfected often to minimize the risk of virus transmission. Investing in preventative sanitation services is also a must for your peace of mind. These professionals are trained to identify which areas in your restaurant need the most attention.
Install handwashing stations to encourage employees and patrons to wash their hands often. Frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds is highly recommended in reducing the risks of virus transmission.
Train and orient employees with your COVID protocol.
Your employees must be oriented and trained to the proper precautions and safety measures implemented in your restaurant. They must be aware of the signs and symptoms of the virus, and what they should do if they exhibit the symptoms.
Employees who experience signs and symptoms must not report to work and must undergo home isolation. They must immediately notify their immediate superior or your COVID response point of contact if they experience any symptoms, was tested positive, or had close contact with someone who tested positive. They can only report to work when they have met the criteria of CDC when discontinuing isolation.
The areas used by the infected employee must be closed off for at least 24 hours before it can be cleaned and disinfected. You must also notify local health authorities of any positive case of COVID-19 among your workforce.
Wear proper PPE.
At the very least, require everyone who is entering your establishment to wear a face covering. Prepare a set of disposable masks in the entrance and hand them out to patrons who do not have a mask.
Your employees should also wear proper PPE, especially those who are handling food and are customer-facing. Your employees may be required to wear disposable gloves and other additional PPE. If possible, they should change into their uniforms within the establishment.
Make the necessary adjustments.
You may have to make some adjustments in the floor plan of your restaurant to promote safe physical distancing between your customers. Limit the number of people who can sit at a table. This means you will have to limit the number of customers who can enter your restaurant. It may be cumbersome, but customers will appreciate your efforts in ensuring their health and safety. Since they will feel safe in your establishment, they will be more likely to return next time.
You may also need to change the way orders are taken and the way customers pay for their orders. Ensure that contact and interactions are kept at the bare minimum. Encourage cashless payments in your establishment as a way to help reduce risks of transmission.
You should also make adjustments to the work-shifts of your employees. Grouping your workforce into different shifts can help ensure the continuity of your business. Should one of your employees get sick, only employees from the same shift will need to undergo home quarantine. The other shifts can still carry on with your business. It effectively contains the infection to a limited number of employees.
Have a COVID response strategy in place.
You must have a COVID response strategy in case an employee or a customer gets infected. Implement a contact tracing tool so that authorities can easily trace those who have been in contact with the infected person. Having proper response lets you protect your employees and your customers from further transmission within your restaurant.
These are scary times and the risks of acquiring COVID-19 can hamper people from experiencing things. Help reduce the risks and alleviate the fears of your customers and employees by keeping your facilities safe, clean, and disinfected.