The emergence of COVID -19 in late 2019 in China that soon after spread to the whole universe led to adverse effect on the individuals’ lives, businesses and other aspects around the globe. It led to closure of businesses, major production industries, and transport industries therefore, limiting access to the movement of goods, services and people. People had to stay safe at home to prevent the spread of the infection.
Among the most affected industries are hospitality industries including the Food and Beverages, Travel and Tourism, Lodging and Recreation. Food and Beverage Sector includes restaurants, cafeterias, cafés, fast-food joints, pubs, delis, food manufacturing operations, catering businesses, food transportation services, and more. Work in this industry can range from packaging to preparing, transporting, and serving food or beverages. F&B has been adversely affected as the people are scared stiff of the hygiene levels that are being practices in the restaurant.
During these unprecedented times, F& B sector has had to take strict measures and regulation to ensure health and safety of all the employees and customers that set foot in their premises. Number one priority has been set to cleanliness levels and sanitization of the workplace to make them free from any form of infections. The following are strict measures carried by the restaurants, feel free to visit and see whether most of these measures are being practiced and followed.
The restaurants ensure:-
- Deep cleaning and sanitization of every section of the restaurant before opening. For instance, some have once a week sterilization and disinfection drive early in the morning from an outside contractual company. The sterilization activity ensures the restaurants are free from all disease causing germs, bacteria or viruses.
- Frequent sanitization of regularly touched surfaces such as door handles, card machines, POS, kitchen, and bar surfaces. Records of every hour of the disinfection are filed to ensure consistency and done with no fail.
- Tables and chairs cleaned and sanitized after each use by the guest. The tables and chairs are among the most sensitive points of touch for every guest. To ensure the feeling of safety, sanitizing at the presence of the guest makes them feel safe.
- Tables placed 2 Meters apart- social distancing. The ones that are not in use are ‘blocked’ by using signage showing that no one is allowed use them. While those that are for use have table talkers that have QR codes to scan with a phone camera to access Online Menu instead of using the physical ones.
- Cashless payment options such as by using mobile payments, for example, Apple and Samsung Pay, availability of card machines with tap options.
- Ensuring hygienic standards are followed from the production to the moment it reaches the guest. Once the deliveries from warehouses are received, the Chef in charge makes sure to sanitize the boxes and the surfaces the items will be kept. They are inspected for any signs of tear or scratch and sent back.
- The surfaces Sanitizers are checked on their concentration to ensure the proper level of chemicals are used, for example, in D4 the PPM (Parts Per Million of Chlorine) level should be 300.
- Availability of sanitizers and antibacterial wet towels on the tables and customer access points such near entry and exit points, near payment points next to the cashier.
- Ensuring the crockery, cutlery, and utensils are clean and spotless. Making sure that the required temperature and chemical are used in the washing machine to sterilize the bacteria and viruses.
- Guests have a choice on whether to use disposable items such as cutleries, bowls and cups. For the safety of the guests, it is proper to ask about the means s/he wants the food delivered. All these are dependent on the guest choice.
- Social distancing floor signs where guest can stand usually 2M apart before ordering and pickup areas.
The following are the strict measures that the Staffs are to follow to the latter:-
- Checking staff temperature before entering the premises. To ensure that the Staffs are not having fever or suffering from any signs and symptoms related to COVID- 19. Constant monitoring of staffs is also done by the Person In Charge (PIC). In any case, a staff is found to have any symptoms, they are sent immediately home and required to seek professional medical attention.
- Ensuring they sanitize their hands regularly on 30minutes basis. This makes sure that they do not contaminate the food and the surfaces that other people come into contact with.
- Have masks and gloves all the times and especially when attending to the guests. The staffs are required to wear a clean mask and to change the gloves at a regular interval of 20mins or as soon as they are about come into contact with food or as required.
- Keeping a safe distance between the staffs and the guests when taking orders, serving and checking on the guest satisfaction.
To ensure the feeling of safety of all the guests, the following are what is required from each and every guest should fulfill without feeling intimidated:-
- Checking guests temperature before entering the restaurant, all guests temperature are checked and if found high, they are required to leave the premises as soon as possible but this is done after allowing the guest to sit under cooler temperature and repeating thrice.
- Guest to wear masks before and after leaving the restaurant. The guests are required to wear mask when coming to the restaurant and when they leave. Note they can remove the masks while they eat or drink.
- Minimal number of guests per table. Maximum of 4 is the requirement by the municipality.
The delivery drivers are required to regularly sanitize their bikes and for every delivery they should wear masks and gloves ensuring to repeatedly change them. They should also make sure to promote contactless payments and ensure that the name and temperature are written on the well sealed delivery bag to be handed to the guest.
To maximize the use of space, some restaurants have resulted in adopting new technologies such as:-
Plexiglas is a plastic material made from polymers of methyl methacrylate, an ester of methacrylic acid. The technical name for this material is polymethylmethacrylate (or PMMA for short), but it also goes by many other trade names, such as Perspex, Acrylite, Acrylplast, Lymacryl, Lucite Acrivill, Altuglas, Perclax, Oroglas, Trespex and Vitroflex. However, its original and most famous trade name is Plexiglas.
Plexiglas is a great alternative to glass. That’s why it’s also known as acrylic glass and is one of the most widely used plastic materials. Unlike glass though, it is shatter-proof, very flexible and even more transparent.
Take note on the names, Plexiglas and plexiglass. In layman’s terms, Plexiglas® is made from acrylic, and plexiglass is a generic term used interchangeably to describe both the name brand and the material itself. Knowing the history behind Plexiglas®, as well as the differences between Plexiglas®, plexiglass, and acrylic sheet should help you in your plastics projects in the future.
While some restaurants are debating on the use of Plexiglas to create a barrier between the tables, some parts of the world such as Italy, Hong Kong, Parts of US, Taipei and Rome are embracing these changes. Maybe we will see it spread throughout the world as people come into terms with this new norm.
These are among the strict measure that the F& B Industries have taken to ensure health and safety of everyone. Different restaurants and other places have different measures they have taken; all the measures are to ensure that everyone feels protected and valued.