As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, most people are thinking of restoring their social lives by heading to the local cafe or favourite restaurant. The first priority of a food service business must be the safety of staff and customers. Business owners have to assess the risks and implement measures to reduce them as far as reasonably practicable.
But what can you do to make your clients and personnel feel safe?
Running a safe food service business is a hard venture at the best of times but is even more complicated in the midst of a pandemic. Here are 3 safety measures that can be implemented to keep everyone safe.
1. Social distancing
Social distancing is one of the main ways of preventing the spread of infection from the respiratory droplets that fall out of the air within a short distance from an infected person. Every cafe or restaurant is different and needs a customised risk assessment and execution plan to keep everybody's safe. Still, you should always take the following steps:
- Provide onsite clear information about social distancing at appropriate places around your premises so people can see as soon as they arrive and at appropriate places around your premises.
- Rearrange indoor and outdoor seating and standing areas to keep customers 1–2m apart or install dividers, where necessary.
- Arrange a one-way system with standing signs to mark how staff and customers should move around your premises.
- Minimise the contact between staff and customers where possible at tills, for instance, by using dividers and distancing.
- Avoid customers having to leave their tables to pick up cutlery or condiments; display this information while letting them know that their children are also required to follow social distancing guidelines.
2. Hygiene measures
COVID-19 is an airborne infection, besides being transmitted through surfaces and droplets. Open doors and windows and check if ventilation systems are operating efficiently and not contaminating other spaces in your shop. When ventilation is inadequate the indoor air should be filtered to remove harmful droplets and airborne particles. Place portable air purifiers that filter the air at strategic locations to clean the air close to customers.
Surface-cleaning and disinfecting will need to be increased in food preparation, serving, and customer areas. Surfaces that are regularly touched by staff and clients need frequent cleaning and include counters, tills, door handles, and push plates. Doors should be left open where it’s safe to do so, to reduce touching and to aid ventilation. Furniture and objects that people use or touch must be cleaned between each set of clients.
3. Handwashing and sanitising
Provide hand sanitiser for customer use on the restaurant or cafe entrance and at key points, like outside the washroom. Remind your staff of the handwashing procedures and of the new risks of COVID-19 infection by showcasing this information on "authorised personnel only" areas.
The staff has to wash their hands frequently, following the standard 20-second handwashing guidelines, in the following situations:
- Before starting work
- Before and after handling food
- Before handling clean cutlery, dishes, glasses, or other items to be used by customers
- After handling dirty or used items, such as used dishes from customer tables
- After touching high-contact surfaces, like door handles
- After blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling money
- After using the toilet
- After eating, drinking, or smoking
While the future remains uncertain, by focusing on safety and implementing these procedures, you can run your shop responsibly. This will mean that everyone, from staff to customers, can be safe while working/enjoying themselves.
Visit our website and check what you need to make your shop a safe space for everybody.