Worksafe BC has just released its reopening protocols for local bars, restaurants and pubs. Having read it in full it’s clear there are strange days ahead, but after months of take-out and delivery service BC diners will adapt and take what they can get.
I’ve cut and pasted the “general considerations” and table service guidance below, but all diners, workers and restaurateurs should familiarize themselves with the complete document here.
Consider work activities that could be done remotely (e.g., dispatch, customer service, administration) and change work model accordingly.
Modify or eliminate in-person meetings and morning huddles; when in-person meetings are required, hold them outside where the risk of transmission is lower.
Eliminate hand-to-hand contact with customers (handshakes, fist bumps, high-fives, etc.). Rearrange waiting areas – consider things like removing chairs and benches, asking guests to wait outside for a table, posting signs, stanchions, tape on floor, etc.
Create separate take-out and dine-in protocols. Create a door or path separate from dine-in customers for payment and/or pickup if possible. Introduce clear signage for take-out versus dine-in and in and out doors.
Consider having customers seat themselves by displaying table numbers. Have a greeter behind plexiglass assign tables.
Maintain a 2 metre distance from other workers and guests. If work activities mean that physical distancing cannot be maintained at all times, employers may consider the use of masks as an additional measure.
Provide hand sanitizer at the door for customers to use when they enter the restaurant. Consider adding a plexiglass barrier at the bar and payment areas.
Create and maintain a protocol for accessing and using washroom facilities where a 2 metre or 6 feet separation cannot be maintained.
Manage break times and schedules (stagger) to support maintaining physical distances between people.
Support workers with medical resource information that includes telephone numbers and website addresses for key medical, mental health, and bullying resources, and approved sources for COVID-19 information.
Ensure workers have a health and safety contact person available for every shift (joint occupational safety and health committee member, representative, or otherwise) to support that protocols are being followed and understood.
Encourage key drop deliveries to reduce contact between delivery workers and front-of-house workers.
Have guests pour their own water by providing water in a bottle or jug at the table. Or prepour water glasses at the bar.
Remove buffets and other self-service amenities.
Have servers leave food and drinks at the front of the table and let guests pass them after the server has stepped away.
Remove one chair per table and use that space as a designated place for the server to come to the table, similar to the open side on a booth. This ensures that workers don’t have to squeeze in between customers.
Remove salt and pepper shakers, sauce dispensers, candles, and other table top items.
Provide if requested and replace with thoroughly cleaned and sanitized ones. Consider single-use options.
Avoid touching coffee cups when refilling.
If customers ask to take unfinished food with them, provide packaging and let the customer put the food into the container.
Use digital menus boards, large chalkboards, or online pre-ordering alternatives instead of traditional menus. If this is not possible, consider single-use disposable menus.
Try to limit the use of cash and limit the handling of credit cards and loyalty cards whenever possible, by allowing customers to scan or tap their cards and handle the card readers themselves. Encourage tap payment over pin pad use.
Staff a person to direct or install floor decals to facilitate the flow of people during busy times.
Consider turning bars into service or pass through counters. In this scenario, the kitchen teams could deliver dishes to the bar area and the servers pick up from there. This reduces touches and reduces traffic into the kitchen.