How should restaurants clean in coronavirus crises? And much more significant is that this reality… Coronavirus is a respiratory virus — it isn’t considered to be a foodborne disease by the CDC, but similar proactive steps like not working when sick, correct handwashing and comprehensive disinfecting can help mitigate the risk.
Dispel myths, and keep the focus on allying client issues. For the most part, restaurants have been shut to in house dining throughout the country. While many restaurants have been closed to patrons, most are serving the general public through their drive-thru windows, and with delivery options from local and area companies. Finding ways to scrub kitchens from top to bottom, and maintaining staff in accordance with cleaning protocols would be the critical issue.
What if those cleaning protocols and methods entail? Nation’s Restaurant News requested Mandy Sedlak, food security and public health manager for Ecolab’s Ecosure division, to offer her expert advice. Here are their replies:
What are the first steps that a restaurant operator must take when they learn a worker or client was diagnosed with coronavirus/COVID-19?
Stay calm, follow your company’s communication policy, send the employee home and ask them to call their healthcare provider, and disinfect high-touch guest areas. It’s of utmost importance to ensure everyone is working together and clear steps are followed. Mixed messages can confuse and it’s vital to make the right decisions quickly and involve the right team. In the event the worker has said they’re verified to possess COVID-19, the worker must self-isolate for 14 times and follow guidance from their doctor and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. When it is not in your ill employee policy already, add flu-like fever and symptoms for grief. The best practice is not to return until the worker is 72 hours. With COVID-19, added precautions are needed to help ensure the protection of your team.
When if a restaurant contemplate closing to the public?
Restaurants should work with their company and regulations to discuss possible closures.
What and how should you speak to your employees? To the public?
Have a plan and talk about it. If the reaction to a confirmed case in the region is the thing that prompts conversations; it is late. These conversations should be happening now. Have open discussions with your employees upon check-ins and if issues arise. Discuss appropriate handwashing, not working when ill and proactively and correctly disinfecting. Utilize education materials from trusted sources such as the CDC. Ecolab also has tools available here in order to start the conversations and find answers. We’re seeing many restaurants proactively train and supply advice to employees, suppliers, and many others. For the public, ensure all customer-facing workers are giving the same message as one voice, talking to the facts if clients ask questions. When they ask, tell them the action steps you’re taking; increased focus on handwashing, no one working with flu-like symptoms, stepping up, etc.. Restaurants are stepping up it, and they ought to look at sharing this info with guests.
What if a “complete and comprehensive” cleaning involving when coronavirus is suspect? What specific products and techniques do you recommend?
When looking at dangers, we can split them into three areas:
- GREEN: Standard prevention. No direct threat. Follow current procedures: Maintain standard hygiene/ill employee and sanitizing/disinfection practices.
- YELLOW: Risk reduction. Potential for an explosion in your geographic area or industry. Enhance procedures to respond to an outbreak in your facility, designed to break the chain of infection or illness.
- RED: Proactive Remediation. A publicly reported outbreak in your facility or region disrupting normal business. Heighten pro-active position and reinforce training while following current procedures.
We’d consider this a demand for “proactive remediation.” The guidelines would be to:
- Monitor employee wellbeing.
- Kindly read and follow label directions for use and proper contact times
- Change out utensils in the buffet line on a more frequent basis.
- Perform training, strengthening cleansing, cleansing, and disinfecting procedures.
- Increase the frequency of tracking hand sinks, including those in the guest restrooms, as hand-washing frequency increases.
- For instance, concentrate on high-touch objects in the dining area.
- For a deep clean, also consider taking everything off of the tables and properly disinfecting the table surfaces. Take care not to contaminate any food items. If salt and pepper shakers are at the tables, empty them before cleanup and let them air dry prior to repainting. The EPA does consider tabletops for a food contact surface after table surfaces are disinfected, you ought to follow a clean, rinse and sanitize.
For typical cleaning, right now it is recommended to follow normal sanitizing procedures for food contact surfaces.
- Completely disinfect the guest and employee restrooms.
- Disinfect the support channel, bar, and reception counters.
- If menus can be discarded, replace them with new ones if they are available. If not, disinfect the menus attentively.
- Disinfect point-of-sale terminals and touch displays and pagers, too. Again, carefully, not to damage electronic equipment.
- Disinfect tables from the kitchen, remembering to move everything away from the area you’re disinfecting to prevent chemical contamination.
- Follow with a clean, rinse and sanitize. Disinfect handles on coolers and gear, in addition to other grips.
- Wash, rinse and sanitize any meals contact products such as stacked pliers or plates and tongs that are put out rather than covered.
- Use approved disinfectants having an EPA “emerging viral pathogen” claim and follow the specified procedures on high-touch guest points.
What routine cleaning ought to be conducted, such as on consumer-facing areas of the restaurant like kiosks, counters, cash tills, chairs, tables, door handles?
For instance, focus on high-touch objects in the dining area. Door knobs, door handles and push plates, railings, light, and air control switches, faucets, toilet flush levers, and the restrooms. What pieces of information are we missing in these questions? As we mentioned previously, Coronavirus is a respiratory virus — it is not regarded as a foodborne disease by the CDC, however comparable proactive steps such as not working when ill, proper handwashing and thorough disinfecting can help mitigate the risk.
Now is the time in which you rely on your proactive avoidance controllers. Standard operating procedures that employees should not work when they are sick, proper handwashing should take place at the right times and cleaning procedures should be effective and well known by employees. Continue to reinforce and prepare for your standard operating procedures, preventative controls and the food safety culture in where you are.
As a dining patron in your city, you must have a working understanding that all restaurants have a frequent goal with health departments shield their guests. The current city code is the execution of this goal. This protocol in place ensures that employees and the communities where they function are accepted and graded by the same criteria.
Also, restaurant equipment companies and Health Departments are taking additional actions to make sure all illness such as COVID-19 is eradicated. There has been a tremendous effort by restaurant organizations to stay ill employees out of the restaurants, increase handwashing even more than they do and disinfect surfaces in a better foundation. Organizations are also sharing prevention measures and best practices with one another.
Main Auction Services, Inc. is a family owned and operated company bringing more than 35 years of combined experience in the restaurant, food service and related industries to the internet sales marketplace. Main Auction Services offers a wide variety of quality, new and used restaurant equipment, kitchen supplies, appliances, furniture and decor.