The National Restaurant Association of the United States on Wednesday released its latest COVID-19 Safe Operating Guidance, recommending to the industry the practices that can be used to help mitigate exposure to the novel coronavirus.
The practices are listed out in the fields of food safety, cleaning and sanitizing, employee health monitoring and personal hygiene, as well as social distancing, according to a publication on the association's website.
In detail, the updated guidance includes a new section on preparing workplaces for COVID-19, which addresses layouts and ventilation; additional direction on when and where face coverings should be worn in the restaurant and how to de-escalate confrontations over policy.
It also consists of additional information on addressing employee personal hygiene and health with updates on front-of-house glove use and considerations when an employee has been exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive; updated direction on providing ServSafe Food Handler training, and access to free ServSafe COVID-19 training videos for all employees.
As with the prior two versions, this guidance document is meant to be used in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code guidelines, with all practices recommended and/or required by state and local health officials for restaurants operating during the pandemic, and by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
According to the association's statistics, the restaurant industry, more than any other industry in the nation, has suffered the most significant sales and job losses since the COVID-19 outbreak began. More than 8 million restaurant employees were laid off or furloughed, and the industry lost 200 billion U.S. dollars in sales between March and September.
The industry counted over 1 million locations and more than 15.6 million employees prior to the pandemic, ranking as the second-largest private sector employer in the United States, the statistics said.