6 safety measures to prepare for the reopening of your restaurant, café, or bar
As you prepare to open your restaurant establishment during the pandemic, the safety of employees and customers must remain the top priority. Every business owner is required to assess the health risks in his business and to put in place measures to control them as much as possible. Those who have already opened their establishment must constantly evaluate the efforts put in place and adapt them if necessary. COVID-19 risk reduction advice is regularly updated.
If managing a restaurant business while ensuring respect for safety and hygiene is always complex, even when the best conditions are met, this is even more true in a context of a pandemic. Here are 5 main areas that must be the subject of preventive measures.
1. Physical distance
Physical distancing is one of the preferred measures to avoid the transmission of infection through respiratory droplets expelled during coughing, sneezing, or speaking by an infected person. As most of these droplets are emitted within a radius of 1 to 2 m, it is recommended to maintain this distance between people whenever possible, and if not, to put up physical barriers such as translucent screens to prevent the droplets. Reach other people.
Every restaurant is different and requires a tailor-made risk assessment as well as a plan for implementing health measures to ensure the safety of customers and employees as much as possible. A series of measures are needed, including the following.
- Provide clear information about physical distancing, online, by email, or on-site, by placing signage visible to customers upon arrival and in certain appropriate places on your premises.
- Control the number of people present on your premises by setting up the advance booking and a queue at the entrance. The number of people in the toilets must never exceed a certain number to ensure compliance with physical distancing.
- Rearrange seating and standing positions inside and outside your establishment to maintain a distance of 1 to 2 meters between customers, or install screens if necessary.
- Identify areas where employee and customer flows may intersect and set up a one-way travel system, if possible.
- Minimize as much as possible the contact between your employees and your customers, in particular at the cash desks or at the reception, by using translucent screens and by enforcing physical distancing.
- Avoid having customers leave their tables, for example, to get cutlery, condiments, or food, in order to maintain physical distancing. Remind your clients that their children are also responsible for following physical distancing guidelines.
- Ensure physical distancing in food preparation areas as much as possible by distributing staff access in space and planning workflows. The layout of the room and the equipment may make this process more complex. For more detailed advice for restaurant businesses, check out government food safety websites.
2. Hygiene measures
Ensuring strict compliance with usual food hygiene practices must be a priority. In some areas, additional measures will be necessary to reduce the risk of contamination of surfaces, serving accessories, dishes, and cutlery from potentially infected staff as well as cross-contamination between customers caused by staff.
Ventilation of premises
In addition to the transmission through contact with surfaces and through respiratory droplets, COVID-19 is now recognized as an airborne infection. Ventilation with clean air should be a priority indoors and in closed outdoor spaces in order to reduce the concentration of respiratory aerosol particles suspended in the air and to extract them out of the room. This involves ventilating rooms by opening doors and windows and checking that ventilation systems are working efficiently and are not contaminating other spaces in the building.
Where ventilation is insufficient, indoor air must be filtered to remove aerosol droplets and airborne particles that are harmful to health. This can be achieved by using portable air purifiers that filter the air using HEPA 13 filters. They can be placed at strategic locations to purify the air near customers.
Surface cleaning and disinfection should be more frequent in food preparation, service, and customer contact areas. Surfaces regularly touched by staff and customers should be cleaned frequently, including counters, checkouts, door handles, and push plates. Doors should be left open when it is safe to do so (taking into account fire safety requirements) to reduce contact with the door and facilitate ventilation. Tables, furniture, and items used or touched by customers should be cleaned between each round of customers.
Hand washing and disinfection
Make hand sanitizer available to customers at the restaurant entrance and in key locations, such as inside the entrance, next to the book with customer contact information, and outside bathroom. Review staff handwashing procedures to take into account new risks associated with COVID-19 infection.
Employees should wash their hands frequently with soap, following standard 20 second-hand washing guidelines, in the following situations.
- Before starting work
- Before and after handling food
- Before handling cutlery, crockery, glasses or other items intended for customer use
- After handling dirty or used items, for example by removing dirty dishes from customers’ tables
- After touching high-contact surfaces, such as door handles
- When moving from one place to another in the workplace
- After going to a public place
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; coughing and sneezing into a disposable tissue or into the crook of the elbow and the employee should immediately wash their hands with soap or use hand sanitizer
- After handling money
- After going to the bathroom
- After eating, drinking or smoking
Toilets reserved for customers
Toilets are an essential facility in a restaurant, but they pose a high risk of spreading infections. They require more regular cleaning and disinfection and increased ventilation. As sanitary facilities generally have limited space, the number of people authorized to occupy the toilets at the same time must be limited in order to respect physical distancing. Put up clear signage with advice to customers on the sanitary measures to be observed.
It is also important to ensure that the toilet is well stocked with soap and hand towels or dryers, toilet seat sanitizer and sealed toilet roll holders.
Hazardous areas and objects
Areas and objects at risk in restaurants include in particular:
- frequently touched objects, such as doorknobs, counters, furniture, where microorganisms can be picked up or transferred
- toilets, where the high number of users in a relatively small space and the act of flushing the toilet increase the risk of microorganisms spreading on surfaces and in the air
- faults around your building that can serve as an access point or refuge for pests
- food storage areas that attract pests and can provide them with refuge
- food waste storage areas that attract pests and promote insect reproduction
- payment keyboards
3. Go mobile
Many restaurants have already launched their mobile application to allow their customers to book in advance, to control their number, and to keep track of their contact details and the day and time of their visit should it be necessary to trace—an infected person. In addition, the applications have a number of other benefits for a restaurant and for its customers.
Elimination of printed menus: A menu handled by customers and staff is a potential source of infection and should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. An online menu is also easier to update and eliminates the need to print new menus.
Fulfillment of Orders: Customers can place their order in advance or sit at their table, and the information is sent directly to the kitchen staff. There is no longer a need to assign a staff member to manage the phone or take paper orders at tables, reducing staff workload. The customer’s order is recorded without risk of error and is easier to read for the kitchen staff.
Online payment: payment is made upon confirmation of the order by the customer. Here again, it saves staff time, which also eliminates the need to handle cash, credit cards, or a payment terminal, which are all vectors of infection. The customer is no longer forced to grab an employee’s attention to ask for the bill, and the risk of customers leaving without paying is also eliminated.
4. Pest control
Pest control should be an integral part of any establishment’s food safety procedures. Infestations with rodents, insects in stored products, cockroaches, or flies can lead to contamination of food ingredients and prepared foods, which can cause a host of illnesses for staff and customers.
- Rodents don’t just get it after food. They can also damage equipment, the building itself, and facilities by gnawing at them: almost half (49%) of the damage reported to electrical equipment is caused by rodents. This damage can result in high repair costs.
- If employees or customers see pests on your premises, especially rodents and cockroaches, it can cause fear and disgust and damage your establishment’s reputation.
- A large-scale pest infestation can increase cleaning and disinfection costs and result in the loss of contaminated and damaged stock.
- A pest infestation can cause local authorities to take control measures, cause loss of business and even result in fines.
5. Make sure you are ready in the event of a new confinement
Sudden lockdown can empty your premises of most or all of your employees, leaving the business of pests attracted to stored food and food waste. Across the world, rodents have been found to be emboldened in times of containment once their usual food reserves have dried up and they are forced to forage for food at all costs. Small pests, such as insects in stored produce and flies, can breed unnoticed without staff on site.
Take care to maintain a complete food hygiene procedure so that food and food waste are not left lying around and that pests have easy access to them, which includes ensuring that the waste storage is protected against pests.
Take the lead in preventing pest infestations with an integrated pest management program that includes building caulking – building maintenance to eliminate loopholes that can serve as a pest access point.
Make sure the security of your restaurant:
Planning is the key to starting a successful restaurant. Imaginary ideas will help set the stage for everything from menu planning to interior design. However, its safety can’t be ignored to look good. In addition to a well-organized and well-equipped kitchen, your restaurant should be a safe and secure place for employees and guests. Advanced security locks, security cameras, and access control systems play an essential role in improving the security of your restaurant. This allows you to monitor your staff and protect yourself against theft and other potential crimes. It is also prudent to give keys and other access items only to essential personnel. Locksmith Tampa provides all kinds of security locks and severance cameras necessary to monitor all corners of the restaurant.
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