There is no question that the restaurant industry has been hard hit by COVID-19 and with no known end date, all restaurants have been forced to find new ways to operate. Central to those new operations is keeping employees safe and healthy. The good news is we have plenty of health and safety tips from the medical community and most of that advice applies to keeping restaurant employees safe too.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Tips For Restaurant Employees
Keeping people and surfaces clean is key to preventing virus spread. Employees should have the opportunity to wash their hands frequently since hand washing with soap and water has been shown to deactivate the virus. Hand sanitizing stations can help prevent the spread as well but are not a substitute for regular hand washing. Encourage employees to take hand-washing breaks every hour or after any high-risk situation. Use disinfecting spray to clean high-touch areas like door handles, tabletops, hostess stations, and POS systems.
2. Require Masks.
Require masks to be worn when employees are on duty and make sure they are worn correctly. Effective masks cover the mouth, nose, and chin and remain on for the duration of the shift. If an employee does have to remove their mask, they should remove it by the ear loops and wash their hands before and after they take it off or put it back on again.
3. Social Distancing.
Social distancing remains one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Make sure your employees maintain a 6-foot distance from each other and customers whenever possible. Face masks and hand washing will help with mitigation when distance isn’t possible. You may need to increase the amount of space between tables in the restaurant or encourage outdoor dining and take-out to maintain safe distances.
4. Stay Home When Sick.
Encourage your employees to take their health seriously and stay home if they feel ill. If they suspect it is COVID-19, they may need to quarantine at home for 2 weeks. Make sure they know their job is safe if they take sick time. Provide them with information about local testing sites and encourage them to get tested if their symptoms do not improve in a day or two.
5. Reduce Touchpoints.
If there ever was a time to move to a contactless ordering and payment platform, this is it. The fewer opportunities staff have to touch something from another person, the better. Avoid taking cash or having employees handle credit or debit cards. If customers must touch a screen or number pad or pen, disinfect the item after every use. Minimize staff duty rotations during each shift to prevent cross-contamination.
You can also reinforce required health and safety procedures by including them in your daily checklists. That way all employees have access to the most up-to-date procedures, no matter when they might have changed.