7 ways to implement Covid19 control measures in pubs, hotels and restaurants
The economic impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry is enormous, with thousands of operations shut down since March 23 and The Bank of England suggesting the UK would see its worst slump since 1706.
Derek Gardner an Environmental Health Expert and Director at Navitas is sharing advice to help commercial kitchens and catering managers implement Covid-19 control measures amid hopes that the sector can soon re-open its doors.
With social and catering activity at an all-time low in the lockdown, Derek explores how businesses can prepare for safe reopening.
1) Get a COVID specific safety certification
When restrictions eventually relax, people could be fearful of returning to their old habits, so the industry will need to reassure returning customers with proven safety procedures. Behaviours will certainly change and businesses will need to demonstrate high levels of coronavirus controls to ensure staff/customer safety and to reassure reluctant customers.
Showing you are certified in COVID-specific measures and that you have undergone training and a risk assessment, you will not only ensure you comply with government guidelines but you will also help put customers’ concerns to rest.
2) Temporarily change the way you operate and consider delivery
Takeaway kitchens have remained open but the government hasn’t yet given any detailed guidelines on the safety of their staff and it’s still challenging to put effective controls in place as most kitchens are confined areas.
Operations could be severely hindered under social distancing measures, so it’s important to look at how to use other spaces and run on reduced menus to allow for less staff in any one vicinity.
While temporary measures such as ‘one in, one out‘ systems have been put in place in fish and chip shops, for example, employers still have a ‘duty of care’ to their staff and implement effective controls both back and front of house to as early as is safe and possible.
3) Designate a Covid Champion
All staff should undergo awareness training and we suggest appointing a designated Covid Champion responsible for hourly checks for front-of-house separation, the correct use of PPE and other controls on a checklist.
Establish a daily check-in system, asking staff to disclose their health and health of members of their household when they come to work.
4) Consider your Coronavirus PPE requirements
In order to reduce the risk of viral infection and in acknowledgement of occasions where full 2m social distancing may not be achievable i.e. passing in a corridor or other small area, the following PPE is recommended:
• Disposable gloves
• Disposable surgical facemask
• Disposable headwear
With regard to the standard of facemask, standard surgical facemask is sufficient as this is the standard worn by ‘Non-ITU’ medical staff within the hospital environment.
The above items should be renewed for each separate business case and amended according to the risks associated with your operation.
In addition, uniforms should be laundered in a hot wash daily, or as frequently as possible, in order to achieve a satisfactory level of ‘disinfection’.
5) Sanitising stations and cleanliness
Every business should enhance their sanitisation around touchpoints like light switches and handles, and regulate hand washing to a minimum of every 20 minutes.
Businesses should check their delivery procedures and the safe decanting and unwrapping of food.
6) Social Distancing
Like supermarkets, we must adopt a system of travel and clear signage to ensure customers and staff stay 2m apart and review seating and screening arrangements between tables.
Cash exchange is almost redundant now, so businesses must facilitate easy contactless payment and review acceptance of cash tips.
7) Conduct a Risk Assessment
Many businesses pre-empted the government lockdown, so commercial kitchens should be aware of the potential risks and conduct a thorough risk assessment of their premises before re-opening.
Quick shutdowns are risky. People leave oil in fryers and there is a big risk of pests, like rats, taking advantage of human absence to seek food.
Statutory test certifications of electric and gas may have expired, so your reputation is at risk, if you don’t consider the potential impacts, and you’ll need to consider how you clear tables, serve food and deal with customer toilets.
While hospitality companies wait to hear from government the measures they’ll need to take when the lockdown is eased, Navitas’ guidance will be valuable in enabling the industry to re-open its doors to the public in a timely and safe way.
They cover three key areas – front of house procedures and practical controls to stop any spread of COVID-19, food production and kitchen work areas, and general controls for staff. To get the full list of guidelines please visit Navitas’ Covid19 Help Hub