As restaurants slowly start opening amid the coronavirus pandemic, it's important to make sure that your establishment is prepared. Cleaning, handwashing, and social distancing will play a fundamental role in a restaurant's day-to-day operations.
Along with personal hygiene supplies and disinfectants, restaurants will need a variety of other supplies to meet FDA and CDC guidelines and recommendations.
Hand washing has always played an important role in restaurant sanitation, but with the coronavirus pandemic, it's even more important. Hand washing is an effective way to slow the spread of the virus.
With employees having to wash their hands more often, it is crucial for restaurants to stock up on personal hygiene items, including:
- Alcohol wipes
- Antiseptic lotion
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Paper towels
- Hands-free soap dispensers
- Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers
All of these items should be easily accessible and in ample supply. Invest in hands-free trash cans if you haven't already.
Personal Protective Equipment
Employees should have personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of transmission among staff and customers.
PPE can include:
- Face masks: Disposable masks with multi-layer protection, or reusable cloth masks with filters
- Face shields: More expensive, but reusable. Shields can be combined with face masks for an extra layer of protection.
- Aprons: Standard restaurant aprons will suffice to protect workers against splatters, spills, and other fluids.
- Sterile gloves: Disposable latex, nitrile, poly or vinyl. Latex may cause an allergic reaction, so other options should also be available to workers.
Restaurant cleaning protocols have always involved the use of sanitizers and disinfectants. In a post-COVID-19 world, they will be used to do more than just prevent the spread of foodborne illness. They will also be used to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Your restaurant will need the appropriate cleaning and disinfecting supplies to keep surfaces clean:
- Commercial disinfectants
- QUAT sanitizer
- Scrubbing and cleaning brushes
- Cleaning and dishwashing gloves
The FDA's guidelines call for the sanitization of dishware, food prep surfaces, utensils, and beverage equipment after each use.
Floors, counters, and other common areas should be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
Health and Safety Supplies
To ensure the health and safety of both employees and customers, restaurants will need to invest in supplies.
To slow the spread, the goal is to enforce social distancing rules and face coverings when appropriate. In a restaurant setting, social distancing can be tricky. Floor dividers or tape can help ensure that customers stay a safe distance from one another.
Supplies that restaurants can use for health and safety purposes include:
- Social distancing floor dividers or tape
- Register-mounted shields
- Hands-free door openers
- Forehead thermometers
Hygiene and Social Distancing Signs
Staff and customers must be aware of the rules. The CDC recommends placing signs in highly visible locations, such as restrooms and entrances. Hand washing and face-covering signs can help ensure that staff and customers follow the rules when dining at the restaurant or picking up an order.
These signs can include:
- Social distancing signs
- Sanitize signs
- Hand washing signs
- Face mask signs
Delivery and Pickup Supplies
If your restaurant is offering pickup and/or delivery, you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate supplies to ensure the safety of your employees and customers.
These supplies include:
- Insulated delivery bags of various sizes
- Food pickup carts
- Disposable cups and cutlery
- Takeout containers
- Food pan carriers
- Food packaging
Importance of Employee Training
It's not enough just to purchase supplies; staff must know how to use these items properly.
- Disinfectants and sanitizers must be used according to the instructions on the label for safety reasons.
- Face masks and shields must be worn properly to ensure maximum protection.
- Gloves must be removed carefully to avoid contamination.
- Employees should be trained and reminded of appropriate hand hygiene practices, including washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
In a post-COVID-19 world, workplace hygiene is of paramount importance. This checklist will help your restaurant be prepared for reopening while putting the safety of employees and customers first.