How Restaurants Worldwide are Adapting to Coronavirus Safety Concerns
Oct 27, 2020 11:31 PM EDT | By Staff Reporter
The whole world seems to be changing at a rate of knots at the moment. With the sizeable influx of problems arising from the global coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have had to make rapid adjustments to fulfill new expectations. It is no different for restaurants who still need to make a living while ensuring that their staff and customers are as safe as possible with minimal risk of contracting the virus.
To allow diners to eat in a safe environment, tables are spaced out further than previously. It is expected that there will be at least a one-meter gap between people, preferably two. However, it can be a little trickier to manage, given that chairs will need to be pulled out. Furthermore, diners who are a bit larger will obviously require extra room, which can be problematic. Therefore, it is advisable to allow maximum room between tables and chairs to provide the safest environment for both customers and employees. Restaurants with outdoor space ought to also follow similar rules. Of course, it isn't always that easy, with some eateries offering communal seating. Many have chosen to install screens or block off certain portions of the seating to increase safety in these instances.
Many restaurants have opted to introduce specific seating times. For example, they will have one sitting at 6 pm until 7.30 pm with the next 8 pm to 9.30 pm, allowing half an hour between guests to ensure that as many precautions can be taken as possible. Some eating establishments have introduced a takeout only service. Although the experience is far from fine dining due to plastic or foil containers and having all courses presented to you at once, it can be a safer way of enjoying your favorite food despite the craziness going on in the world.
Hygiene and Food Preparation
Eating establishments are expected to follow stringent guidelines to meet hygiene regulations during regular times. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that restaurants must be even stricter. Whereas previously, a quick wipe with a cloth would have sufficed, these days, it is imperative to use an anti-bacterial spray, which is more likely to kill any germs that have made their way onto services. Rather than using tablecloths and upholstered chairs, it is highly recommended that tables are as clear as possible to allow them to be cleaned more easily and effectively. Furthermore, chairs without fabric into the fibers of which germs can easily survive are a much better option.
Within the kitchen itself, handwashing is being done even more frequently. Greater care is being taken over the preparation of food. Although kitchens can be incredibly hot workplaces, many chefs have decided to (and in some cases, have been forced to) wear high-grade face masks to ensure as few risks are present as possible. Equipment is cleaned more frequently, and sectioned areas are regularly in use.
Wherever possible, many customers are being encouraged to read menus online and use a dedicated app to order their meals. Of course, this can be complicated and expensive for restaurants, too, especially when they are independent, family-run establishments with a smaller customer base. Therefore, the initial outlay compared to how much revenue they are seeing would make the investment too costly. In those cases, many servers choose to wear masks and face shields to protect both themselves and their customers while taking orders in the traditional fashion. Often, menus are a forgotten source of contamination. Using laminated copies of the menu will allow for the waiting staff to wipe them down regularly, in between customers.
Handing over cash can easily transmit germs. This is avoided in many places, with an insistence on using contactless card payments. In addition to this, many have chosen to install restaurant sneeze guards. These usually are made of plexiglass and acrylic, meaning they are able to be cleaned very easily. Furthermore, there is a space at the bottom for cash to be handed through, if necessary, or the card machine to be passed through. This minimizes contact and is one of the safest ways of payment. Despite being around since 1959, the sneeze bar is becoming ever more popular with the rise of deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, restaurants are also seeing, and encouraging, an increase in the number of people using their cellphones to pay for their meals. It is quick, easy and convenient. Yes, an element of personalized service is lost. However, this is surely a preferable option over the potential loss of life.