You may be opening for the first time since your state implemented restrictions, or you may be reopening your dining room after only offering takeout/delivery – regardless, there are a number of changes you'll need to make as you work to adjust to your new normal. FaciliSafety is here to help you create guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your restaurant and keep employees and customers safe.
Stay Updated & Flexible
Bookmark important coronavirus websites, and sign up for available email notifications to help ensure you don't miss any updates.
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
- Your state's coronavirus website
Make a Plan
Now's the time to review and assess your current infection-prevention policies and procedures.
- Create new policies based on the rules and recommendations from your local and state governments, OSHA, and CDC.
- Designate one or two key people as the owners of the plan. Make sure your employees and your customers know who they are in case they have questions or concerns.
- Be transparent about the changes you've had to make to your restaurant by posting signs.
If you are going to create your own signs, use a warm and friendly tone in your wording and keep them short. Lengthy notices are more likely to be overlooked or, worse, draw a crowd, and crowds are not what you want. Your signs can include a link to your website where you can post more information.
Train Employees in the New Policies & Protocols
Change is difficult under the best of circumstances and COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on how restaurants are required to do business. The best way to ensure compliance is to train your entire staff on all health and safety protocols, including new cleaning and disinfecting guidelines and the proper way to wear a mask. Don't assume everyone knows what to do.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Along with training your employees, it's also important to inform customers about what you're doing to keep them safe and what they should expect when they come to your restaurant. Frequent updates to your restaurant's website and social media pages, as well as friendly visual notices and signs at entrances and high-traffic areas is key to your reopening.
Double-sided tabletop sign holders are also ideal for providing friendly reminders about wearing masks and washing hands and your disinfection protocols and employee screening.
Masks, Handwashing, Disinfecting, and Employee Screening
These three factors are the cornerstone of our new normal.
Each state, and possibly local government, has different requirements or guidelines for wearing masks when in public (see above about staying informed). The CDC recommends anyone in an enclosed public space wear masks. How does this apply to a business where customers are eating? Simple – customers should wear their masks whenever they're not eating or drinking.
For employees, OSHA recommends they "wear appropriate face coverings, such as cloth face masks, to contain respiratory secretions" and that you ensure they "use appropriate PPE, identified through hazard assessments and in accordance with OSHA’s standards at 29 CFR 1910." In other words, the level of hazardous exposure determines the type of masks employees should wear.
- Update your handwashing-is-required signs if they only address or don't include information on how to properly wash your hands.
- Provide touchless hand sanitizer stations for customers.
- Post friendly reminders about handwashing or hand sanitizer so your customers can see your commitment to keeping them safe.
Whether you call it social distancing or physical distancing, the goal is the same - to stay a minimum of 6' from each other.
- Make it easy for your customers by placing floor signs or cones to mark the proper distance apart if a queue is required before being seated. For your dining area, that will mean adjusting your capacity and seating guests at tables spread at least 6' apart.
- In your kitchen, that may be more difficult and may require some forethought and planning, the installation of some barriers, andwhat OSHA calls engineering controls.
- Increase the frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces.
- Use an EPA-approved coronavirus-killing disinfectant on these surfaces, and be sure to follow the directions on the label to ensure safe, effective use.
- Don't forget to update any changes in PPE requirements if the disinfectant you choose requires it.
- Create a daily/hourly disinfecting schedule for employees.
- Post it where all employees can see it to keep everyone informed.
- Post a sign with your new procedures for disinfecting so you customers can see your commitment to keeping them safe.
Restaurants should screen each employee daily for COVID-19 symptoms and require a temperature check.
- Whether employees take their temperatures at home before coming in or you, as the employer, are required to take their temperature when they arrive at work is determined by your local or state government. Visit your state's coronavirus website for requirements.
- Employees who are sick should not come to work. Send home employees that are sick or symptomatic.
These guidelines should help you get started with reopening safely. We also encourage you to stay informed of all state and national guidelines and recommendations.
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