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5 ways restaurants are keeping their customers safe amongst Covid-19

Between shutdowns, curfews and limited (if any) indoor seating, restaurants have had a particularly hard go of it during the pandemic. Despite the heroic measures taken by their owners, thousands have closed permanently nationwide. For those remaining, keeping their doors open, their people employed and their customers safe during Covid-19 are big concerns. Whether they're seating indoors or outside, or are open only for takeout and delivery, there are a number of things restaurants are doing to maintain healthy environments. Here are a few, all of which are recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
5 ways restaurants are keeping their customers safe amongst Covid-19
1. Physical barriers

Whether a restaurant can maintain a six-foot distance between people or not, installing acrylic (plexiglass) sneeze guards at key points of interaction between employees and customers can help protect both. Sneeze guards are now commonly used at host stands, cash registers and takeout windows. Behind the scenes, restaurants are installing them at food pickup areas to separate kitchen and wait staff, and in between food prep areas. They’re being used to provide physical separation between booths, dining tables and bar seating. Restaurants are also installing sneeze guards in restrooms to separate sinks and urinals or extend the height of barriers already in place. Acrylic is quite strong and malleable, so they can choose standard shapes and sizes for countertop, booth mounted, floor mounted or ceiling mounted barriers, or customised dimensions that better suit their space.

5 ways restaurants are keeping their customers safe amongst Covid-19
2.Signage

You’ve probably been encouraged to wash your hands hundreds of times by now, but reminders never hurt. Restaurants are installing signage with guidance for employees on stay-at-home home policies and proper hygiene, cleaning and food prep procedures. They’re also using signage to inform patrons of the steps they’re taking to ensure their health. And, of course, to advertise specials, display menus, show off mouthwatering plates or simply liven up the space. Signage holders that are simple to clean and make it easy to swap out content are popping up more frequently on restaurant tables, counters, floors, doors and windows.

5 ways restaurants are keeping their customers safe amongst Covid-19
3. Amped-up cleaning

Beyond personal hygiene recommendations, restaurants have also upped their game when it comes to cleaning (soap and water) and disinfecting (germ-killing products) surfaces wherever employees and customers sit, stand or congregate. The CDC recommends that frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, cash registers, work stations, sink handles, etc., be cleaned and disinfected daily, but most restauranteurs are doing it much more frequently. Sneeze guards are cleaned and disinfected regularly, too. They’re cleaning shared objects such as tabletops and receipt trays every time someone uses them—when they’re using such items at all. If you are going out to eat, you’re probably seeing much more single-serving condiments, no-touch doors, disposable flatware and smartphone menus than ever before. And don’t be surprised when you’re asked to use your own pen when signing a receipt.

5 ways restaurants are keeping their customers safe amongst Covid-19
4. Alternative payment methods

For many people, coins and paper money are still the preferred way to pay and tip the waitstaff, but they’ve long been known to be petri dishes for germs because they change hands constantly and are rarely cleaned (unless you accidentally leave some bills in your pocket at wash time). The pandemic has been a boon for touchless payment systems such as smartphone wallets. Debit and credit cards are second best, but restaurants are taking care to use gloves as they handle them, and cardholders are using the bottles of hand sanitiser conveniently placed next to the register after they’ve punched in their information on the keypad. When people pay at a register anywhere food is served, the sneeze guards mentioned at the outset are almost ubiquitous now where cashier and customer meet.

5 ways restaurants are keeping their customers safe amongst Covid-19
5. Ventilation system upgrades

Under certain conditions, people with Covid-19 seem to have infected others who were more than six feet away via airborne transmission. Generally, this happens in indoor spaces with inadequate ventilation, so restaurant owners have been busy upgrading their systems as they can afford it and opening doors and windows during business hours to increase airflow. Outdoor seating is all the rage now, too. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers ( ASHRAE) offers them a wealth of information on its website, including info on how to avoid Legionnaire’s disease being passed along through water systems that were in disuse for a period of time—such as during a restaurant closing.

For restaurant owners, a word about cleaning acrylic properly

ShopPOPdisplays offers a variety of products that can clean acrylic without scratching — but a simple mixture of water and mild dish soap, applied with a very soft, damp cloth, works too. Acrylic products such as sneeze guards, barriers and shields can be safely sanitised with a formula of 70% isopropyl (not ethyl) alcohol to 30% water. Spray it on, let it sit for a moment then use a soft cloth solely dedicated to those surfaces to gently wipe them dry. In a pinch, an isopropyl alcohol wipe will do, but be aware that even the softest wipe can scratch. And don’t forget to wear disposable gloves.

ShopPOPdisplays offers one of the largest selections of acrylic and polycarbonate sneeze guards, barriers and shields for restaurants and bars. Either material is a great choice, because they’re stronger than glass, shatter-resistant, lightweight and optically clear. Acrylic can also be personalized with custom colors, printing and engraving, and because it is infinitely malleable custom designs are limited only by your imagination. ShopPOPdisplays craftspeople have put 40+ years of experience to work designing and manufacturing high-quality acrylic and polycarbonate sneeze guards, barriers and shields, so restaurant owners can choose standard products from the catalog or come up with their own fanciful designs.

Ray Ko
Ray Ko
Author bio
Ray Ko is the senior e-commerce manager at ShopPOPDisplays, located in New Jersey, shopPOPdisplays is a leading retail displays manufacturer of point-of-purchase displays. Combining over 20 years of experience in branding, content, search engine marketing, Ray is an expert in formulating and implementing e-commerce strategies to drive site traffic, improve user engagement, and increase revenue.


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