Responding To COVID-19; What Can Restaurants Do.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka is on the rise again, and it feels a lot heavier than the first wave. A new cluster emerged a few days back, and right now, there are 1514 active cases in the country (13/10/2020, 10.54 AM). 
 
However, unlike the first time, many of the restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and other retail stores are still functioning, which is a good thing. But, it's absolutely vital to do it in a manner that it protects the employees, customers, and communities. 
 
So if you're a restaurant owner, here are a few ways that you can respond to the second wave, without taking a step back.

Follow The Guidelines

Ever since the country started to get back to the new normal after the first wave, the YAMU Editorial resumed their reviews. At the initial phase, we observed how strictly they were adhering to the government rules and regulations, but later on, those practices seemed to fade away slowly. It's not just restaurants – the same scenario could be spotted at many of the aforementioned establishments. 

Nonetheless, you're still not too late to implement these COVID-19 prevention methods in your restaurant. Have a thorough look at the Operational Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, and make sure to rearrange your restaurant, and its staff accordingly. It will take a bit of time and effort than usual, but it's mandatory, to make your establishment a COVID-free zone.

Regular Sanitation

Restaurants have many common areas and equipment – tabletops, service stations, chairs, washrooms, kitchen, cutlery and table clothes etc., which needs to be disinfected regularly. It's absolutely compulsory for the staff to wear masks and gloves in the proper way, and they should be disposed correctly as well. Furthermore, installing sanitiser/handwashing facilities at the entrance of the restaurant, and at common areas will help both your staff and customers to practice their hygiene conveniently and effectively. 

Cater To Delivery

Many customers hesitate to opt for the dine-in option amid this pandemic, and therefore, you can send a taste of your food to their doorstep by tieing up with a delivery partner. It will help you to drive more sales too.

Track Your Workforce

In order to assist the contact tracing of the COVID-19 clusters, the public, including tuk drivers, has been asked to keep a logbook of their whereabouts and activities throughout the day. This is something that you can implement for your staff too, while keeping a record of their temperature throughout the day. Take necessary precautions if a staff member is showing possible symptoms of COVID-19.

Track Your Customers

Almost all the restaurants that we reviewed right after the first wave of this pandemic had a person assigned to greet and welcome the customers, while taking their temperature and making a note of their contact information. However, unfortunately, this habit seems to have disappeared now from most establishments. Re-implementing it, is crucial in a time like this.  

Allow BYOC

While your restaurant does the necessary sanitisation, allowing BYOC, or Bring Your Own Cutlery will make the customer feel safer, as they're using cutlery brought from their own home. 

Encourage Card Payments

To minimise the cash handling, and the possible contamination and the spread of COVID-19, always encourage your customer to pay from credit/debit card. 

Modified Layouts and Physical Distancing

The seating layout of the restaurant should strictly comply with the given social/personal distancing guidelines. Each diner should have at least 1m distance from the other, and the seating should be rearranged accordingly. The staff should also maintain the same physical distance while taking orders and serving them. 

You can opt for a strict, reservation-based method for customers who wish to dine as big groups. 

Post Your Policies

Right now, people are looking for the safest spaces to dine at. Make sure you use your social media wisely to spread the news about all the COVID prevention methods that you've developed at your restaurant, so the customers can make a better choice. 

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