Let's work together to slow this spread down

Like many people, I am taking all the advised steps to do what I can, as an individual, to slow down the spread of Coronavirus. I catch any sneezes in the crook of my elbow, avoid touching my face, always have a ready supply of tissues and wash my hands frequently. All this has made me highly tuned in to the behaviour of others in public places.

I was on a crowded train the other day and watched a man chatting away to his mate, casually wipe his nose with the back of his fingers before grabbing the handrail. An almost involuntarily move he probably wasn’t even aware of. 

We have taken necessary steps to ensure we reduce the risk of any contamination

So exactly how vulnerable are we to exposure to germs in restaurants? Eating out involves a lot of hand to surface contact in various different ways. We all want to keep the economy going and support local restaurants, bars and cafes, but we’re also being bombarded with news of social distancing and countries such as Italy going on lockdown. 

Quite a few restaurants have now taken to social media to reassure the public by laying out the extra measures they’re taking to ensure the safety of their guests. Wisely, they are also advising their customers in regard to the steps they should take to protect staff and help the industry stay on its feet. 

The Art School Interior

This is a global issue. One of the most progressive and socially responsible restaurants in the world, Amass in Copenhagen, (who recently announced they had done the maths and decided to stop serving beef because of the carbon footprint involved) recently published a post on instagram laying out their position.

This includes limiting the amount of bookings to ensure there is ample space between tables, restricting walk-ins, taking extra hygiene measures.

View this post on Instagram
Dear friends, guests and colleagues, In light of recent events, we - Amass and Broaden & Build - have gathered and discussed, and here’s what we’ve decided as a group. For now we remain open while we continue to monitor and assess the situation. We are of course taking extra precautions by following government issued guidelines to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. Your time and experience with us is incredibly important. With that said, your safety, and the safety of our staff, is more important. We remain open to welcome you, but are flexible and understand if you choose to postpone your time with us. Specifically for Amass, this means • Our opening hours will remain the same, but we will limit the amount of bookings we accept and we ask that you do not show up without a reservation. • We are making sure there’s ample space between tables. • Hygiene is always a top priority, but we will be taking extra measures to ensure public safety. • Beef Dinner will go ahead as planned. • Blackout Dinner will be postponed until a later date. If you have any questions, please give us a call or write us an e-mail. Even during these uncertain times, we still look forward to welcoming you!
A post shared by Amass Restaurant (@amassrestaurant) on

Tartare in Galway, Dublin put together a handy infographic laying out its expectations of the behaviour of customers which include frequent hand-washing, contactless payments, the banning of reusable cups, taking responsibility for personal litter such as tissues.

Simon Rogan of various Michelin starred restaurants, including L’Enclume in Cartmel, has sent out an email outlining extra measures they have taken to help contain the virus in his restaurants. 

“As always, all our restaurants maintain the highest possible level of hygiene and have been kitted out with extra hand sanitiser so please feel free to make use of this during your time with us,” he says. 

“Our team has been fully briefed with current government requirements and are undertaking extreme levels of health and safety procedures to ensure that guests and other staff members are safe." He then goes on to make reassurances in regard to his farm where much of the produce is grown; “At Our Farm, we have taken necessary steps to ensure we reduce the risk of any contamination. Produce is handled by our chefs and farm staff once at the farm and once at delivery.”

Closer to home, the Ibérica group of restaurants posted a video showing the extra steps their staff were taking to increase hygiene including regularly wiping down menus in between uses and extra sanitation of areas of regular contact such as handrails and door handles.

In Manchester, Federal Cafe, which has branches in the Northern Quarter and Deansgate, have publicly declared the extra measures they are taking to minimise the risk of exposure and look after both staff and customers including moving over to disposable menus and removing communal tableware such as condiments. 

Porta which has a number of popular tapas bars in Salford, Altrincham and Chester have also published a forward thinking post which says, “I hope this information is reassuring and not alarming.” 

20170622 Deliveroo Bike550

A missive has just been sent out from Will Shu, founder of Deliveroo, outlining the steps they are taking to prepare for all scenarios. 

“As well as providing restaurants with additional packaging and stickers to seal the delivery bags, we’re also launching a no-contact drop-off service which will mean you can request in the app that your rider leaves the food on your doorstep - removing the need for direct contact for both parties. 

“As well as food from restaurants and takeaways, you can also order kitchen and household products from local stores and supermarkets on the Deliveroo app, making every day life that much easier.” 

In conclusion, there are measures we can all take as individuals to keep our restaurants open and support the hospitality industry while safeguarding our health and wellbeing and slowing down the spread of this current pandemic. So let’s take them.