As many people return to working at restaurants, offices, warehouses, and as well as other establishments across the nation, it’s imperative that proper workplace hygiene and thoughtful cleaning is taken into account. While disinfecting and sanitizing will help, employees must know how to handle themselves around other coworkers and customers as well. Here's how you can implement suggestions for necessary workplace hygiene.
Proper Hand Washing
By now, many people understand how to properly wash their hands to get rid of the most amount of germs. It’s one of the most basic forms of workplace hygiene, and it’s important to reiterate this information to your employees when they start back to work. Here are a few ideas on how to do that:
- Add the appropriate hand washing information to your employee handbook and have it in writing.
- Put up hand washing posters around your entire restaurant to remind employees to wash more often, not just after they have used the bathrooms.
- Remind employees that even though they may be wearing latex or plastic gloves, they need to wash their hands often.
- Set a timer and have all employees pause what they are doing to wash their hands.
Wearing Latex Gloves, Facemasks, and Face Guards
Many states are still heavily enforcing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) while being out in public. Because your employees come in contact with so many people while working each day, wearing PPE will help slow the spread of germs. Make sure your staff understands the proper uses and benefits of latex gloves so they can stay protected while working.
Implementing Cashier Shields
If you want to limit the amount of contact your customers have with your employees, try having customers pay at a single register that has a cashier shield. Guests will be able to pay for their food while staff members are protected.
Social distancing is something that many Americans have been practicing since early March. Following social distancing guidelines in a restaurant dining room might be harder than expected, but here’s how your staff can accommodate customers and one another.
- Inform customers that your wait staff will be doing all they can to social distance while serving them.
- Implement the use of serving boards to give food and drink, as well as accept payment.
- Designate a drop zone for chefs to place food and for runners to pick food up without coming in direct contact with each other.
- With fewer customers in the restaurant at one time, remind employees that it is okay to slow down in the back of the house in order to properly follow social distancing standards.
Other Hygiene Tips
With an increased amount of both customers and employees in your restaurant space, there’s a higher chance germs could be tracked into your business. Apply these other hygiene tips to minimize contact and the spread of germs.
- Cell Phones - These devices carry a lot of germs, and most importantly, we touch them all of the time. Because of this, when your employees touch their phones, they could transfer outside germs into your business. Have employees wipe cell phones down when they come into work and as they leave work. If you would like to take extra precaution, have employees wipe down their phones and place them in a container while they are on their shift to avoid any cross-contamination.
- Clothing - Many nurses and healthcare workers have made it a point to change clothes after their shift and before they enter their homes, or to change as soon as they arrive home in order to avoid bringing germs home with them. This could also be a practice that your employees implement if they are concerned about exposing their families.
- Shoe Covers - If your restaurant begins to welcome more people as stay at home orders begin to lift, you may want to consider having your staff wear shoe covers. More customers in your establishment means more foot traffic and additional points of contact for germs to spread. As for your customers, this is a visual sign to them that you are taking as many precautionary measures as you can to help limit the spread of any germs.
- Coughing and Sneezing Etiquette - In many parts of the United States, allergies are very common, causing people to sneeze and cough a lot. Place boxes of tissues around your restaurant and heavily encourage employees and guests to cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when they sneeze or cough.
- Bathroom Use - If your restaurant is fortunate enough to have multiple bathrooms or bathroom stalls, designate one for employees and one for customers. This will help decrease the amount of contact users have in one shared space, as well as allow your staff to clean the bathrooms in between uses. You may also want to consider restricting your bathrooms to being used by employees only to avoid the spread of outside germs in your business.
Taking proper workplace hygiene precautions will help slow the spread of coronavirus. Remind your coworkers that if they are feeling ill, they should stay home until their symptoms have cleared. For more direct requirements, visit the CDC’s website for other considerations for restaurants and bars.