With hospitality venues and non-essential businesses due to open over the next month, owners are finding ways of adapting to ensure their customers are safe and social guidelines are being followed. Many businesses and associations have argued that the current 2m rule for social distancing will negatively impact service and could even cause severe financial damage or business collapse, but until the advice changes, the hospitality world is having to figure out how to make do.
Some of the most common measures being undertaken by bars and restaurants include:
- Creating visible one-way systems for entering and exiting buildings to minimise the number of customers using any one access point.
- Using one-time menus and individual sachets of condiments instead of bottles so staff can safely dispose of the items and do not have to clean them between each use.
- Distancing tables and setting up Perspex screens around them or at service points to protect staff and provide a shield between customers.
- Ensuring that all staff wear face masks or gloves at all times to reduce physical contact with glassware that customers have used. This is particularly important to bars and restaurants where being around barware or cutlery is unavoidable.
- Marking out safe distances from bars so staff and customers do not come within 2 metres of each other and surfaces do not become contaminated with customers leaning on or touching them.
- Employing an increased and rigorous cleaning schedule for tables, commonly touched areas like handrails or bathrooms which are essential in hospitality businesses and must remain open to customers.
- Having sanistiser stations throughout the venue for customers and staff to use to make sure cleanliness standards are being met.
A few interesting additions to the health and safety measures also show how hospitality businesses were changing even before COVID-19, with the incorporation of tech like contactless ordering through apps and encouraging app payments. Lockdown has pushed these features into the limelight, and made a modern benefit into a safety necessity. People may be dreaming about cramming into nightclubs, bars and pubs again with their friends, but it will be interesting to see which measures end up staying for the foreseeable and becoming part of the new normal.