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Restaurant COVID Risk Management | A Path to Reopening Safely for the Food Service Industry
In collaboration with restaurant owners and management, RHP Risk Management experts develop practical and manageable restaurant reopening plans and procedures to navigate the uncertainties and challenges presented during the current closures and openings during a Pandemic Response such as COVID -19. Development of a safe and healthy infectious disease plan with a process to return to work that complies with and follows regulatory guidance and best practices (Federal, State, Local) assures your staff, your patrons, and your vendors of the safety they deserve. Such a plan includes evaluating your restaurant’s engineering controls (HVAC and ventilation), administrative controls (spacing tables, pick up locations, seating, and egress), cleaning protocols and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs.
As vaccines increase in availability and acceptance and as disease transmission risk decreases, RHP can redirect the focus to your restaurant’s risk management and health & safety strategies to take you to stronger platforms in your day to day operations. Post-pandemic critical risk decisions and planning will build current and future mitigation strategies.
The Risks that evolved from a Pandemic Disease such as COVID-19
As we have all seen closure orders by governing bodies with little specificity on length of time disrupts the ability to pay and retain staff, patrons and your business. Fear of transmission emanating from patrons, vendors and staff has crippled the food and drink service industry in our communities. Delays in supply chain due to warehouse, food processing, and production limitations; slowdowns or manpower reduction; and transportation stoppage further add stress to a restaurant’s livelihood. Creative decision making and service offering pivots gave some restaurants a little breathing room by offering take-out and delivery services is not an option for all establishments. As states, municipalities and communities lessened restrictions based on a decrease in infection rates a transition to outdoor seating brought increased business volume but also presented a new set of challenges for restaurant owners. Seasonal weather changes and cold climates effect outdoor seating options. RHP experts have developed ventilation and cleaning validation methodologies to provide the data restaurateurs need to evidence the efficacy of their process and controls and give the assurances to staff and public. Our experts guide business owners and management, with an emphasis on best practices, toward risk reduction and mitigation of transmission. Through these results businesses reduce costly shutdown through critical risk decisions, including when and how to modify current mitigation strategies (post-pandemic).
How RHP Can Help Your Restaurant Reopen
RHP professionals rely on their knowledge, decades of experience and their professional training in interpreting and incorporating the regulations and guidance of Federal, State, and local agencies to provide customized best practice guidance for you, your staff and your establishment. Our audit of your restaurant’s pandemic plan, return to work plan, building engineer controls (HVAC), safety and health procedures, hygiene practices, and an evaluation of personal protection equipment (PPE) provide assurances of your dedication in protecting your staff, vendors, patrons and business.
Our understanding of the regulations and guidance surrounding the current pandemic of COVID-19 help defuse the confusing, sometimes contradictory, and quick changing reporting from federal and state agencies provide a clear and concise path forward. We monitor and adapt our responses accordingly to provide our clients current, reliable, and understandable language that is implementable and manageable for staff at all levels. Training staff is the key to successful adherence and compliance. Knowledgeable staff in turn builds a confident staff which reassures patrons which builds back business volume and success.
Our Restaurant COVID Training & Reopening Assessment Services
Agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Restaurant Association recommend reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission by reducing indoor seating capacity to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart, improved ventilation, promoting employee behaviors that reduce spread, maintaining healthy environments and operations, preparing for sick employees, and having an updated emergency response and pandemic disease policy.
- Restaurant Ventilation & HVAC Assessments: RHP’s building HVAC assessments focus on reducing airborne risk, protecting all restaurant operations, enhancing ventilation to protect customers and employees. A restaurant HVAC assessment will help determine and quantitatively validate filtration efficacy and building air exchange rates for virus risk reduction, and determine site-specific building aerosol transmission risks using a safe airborne surrogate.
- Development & Auditing Emergency Response and Pandemic Disease Policy: RHP professionals work in collaboration with restaurant owners and management to create site-specific procedures consistent with best practice guidance and regulations, and provide onsite audit support, checklists and recommendations for use by restaurant management. Auditing your existing infectious disease plan, cleaning procedures and building ventilation system, RHP will develop a risk assessment of the workplace and employee protocols, a restaurant risk management strategy, and provide recommendations and mitigation strategies.
- Restaurant Staff Training In-Person and/or Web-based Training Platform: RHP health and safety professionals provide employee training on best practice guidance and compliance, including policies to reduce the spread and transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, general hygiene, protocols for when an employee is exhibiting symptoms and employee screening procedures, protocols for when a patron or vendor is exhibiting symptoms and patron and vendor screening procedures, choosing the right PPE, fitting and training on PPE, and cleaning and disinfection procedures.
- Customized Reopening Schedule and Processes: RHP professionals will develop strategies to promote behaviors to reduce infectious disease spread, maintain healthy operations, including management of processes while monitoring employee health & personal hygiene, social distancing, and best practices to protect employees.
- Health & Safety Planning: RHP partners with management to develop effective health & safety plans and programs that may include returning to work plan to minimize your business’ liability risks and mitigate disease (COVID-19) transmission.
- Cleaning / Disinfection Strategies, Safety Data Sheets (SDS): RHP’s guidance for cleaning and disinfecting focuses on reducing the risk of exposure to disinfectant chemicals and cleaning products by auditing, organizing and managing safety data sheets (SDS), place them in a appropriate location known to staff, , ensuring your business is using approved cleaning and disinfecting products, and safe and proper use of disinfection products and the storage of these products. Identification of and mapping of high-touch areas and development and implementation of cleaning schedules.
- Cleaning Efficacy and Validation: RHP experts can validate your surface cleaning procedures and efforts test the efficacy of your cleaning and disinfection procedures and techniques to provide piece of mind to staff, patrons, vendors and management ensuring safe work practices. RHP’s surface testing procedures help mitigate liabilities through the development of reliable data and analysis.
- Review of COVID Best Practices / Guidance / Regulations: RHP professionals develop and implement best practice guidance that follow regulations that address key considerations for employee health, cleaning and sanitizing, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Observational Hygiene and Masking Assessments: RHP’s observational hand washing and masking assessments will ensure employees and customers are following protocols and ensure safe work practices. The best practices program includes signage in highly visible locations that promote everyday protective measures wearing a mask and properly washing hands.
- Evaluation of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): to protect employees and patrons, considerations on what type of PPE and when PPE should be worn, in addition to training staff on proper use, removal, and washing of masks.
Consult with RHP to Reopen Your Restaurant and Return to Work Safely
RHP partners with clients in the restaurant industry to prepare for and successfully advance to reopening by creating and updating emergency response and pandemic disease policies, health and safety procedures, and engineering controls. Restaurant owners can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transition by developing and implementing a pandemic disease policy that includes training and validating their employees and staff understand and can execute proper procedures and protocols.
RHP led return to operations guidance and restaurant risk management strategy enables you, your staff and your restaurant management to reduce the risk of an outbreak, adverse publicity, workers compensation claims and a costly shutdown. By implementing a site specific custom program such as RHP can work with you to develop, restaurant employees will have confidence that they’re working within a safe workspace, which improves productivity and maximizes profits. Through assessments of building engineering systems and controls, RHP’s consulting guides your restaurant to successful re-opening and continuity with the implementation of best practices complied across authoritative resources such as the CDC, FDA, USPH and WHO. RHP’s expert knowledge and experience with technology can work with your mechanical engineering firm or building engineering staff to answer questions and evaluations on ROI of the engineering modifications to your building systems.
RHP Risk Management is a team of health scientists with Certified Industrial Hygienists and Certified Safety Professionals who partner with clients to develop custom, sensible, and manageable health and safety solutions. RHP’s health scientists continuously monitor the latest scientific advancements and policy changes concerning the SARS-CoV-2 virus to provide our clients with timely, trusted, evidence-based, and customized services through successive COVID-19 re-opening phases.
As trusted resources, RHP professionals continue to gather and analyze information as it is updated and adapted concerning the SARS-CoV-2 virus to provide our clients with timely, trusted, and customized services through the successive COVID-19 re-opening phases.
Contact RHP for an initial consultation and learn more about our professional services.
For more information and interim guidance, we invite you to explore our website coronavirus (COVID-19) page that provides resources for workers, employers, business owners, building owners, and the general public.