Planning for an Uncertain New Reality
The White House has rolled out guidelines for Opening Up America Again. Restaurants fall into all three phases. Phase One for states and regions that satisfy its gating criteria on COVID19 reports on decreasing symptoms, cases and hospitalizations. “LARGE VENUES (e.g., sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under strict physical distancing protocols,” the guide outlines. In phase two and three, restaurants can operate under moderate and limited physical distancing protocols, respectively.
In accordance with the guidelines, employers in any phase must:
“Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:
- Social distancing and protective equipment
- Temperature checks
- Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
- Business travel
- Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following employee COVID+ test.”
While many restaurants are weeks away from the possibility of reopening dining rooms, planning for what the dining experience during the COVID19 pandemic will look like is vital. Now is the time to start putting pen to paper with your strategy.
Reviewing and implementing the above policies may seem overwhelming. Break them down into actionable tasks. Address items that you can control in your pizzeria. Some items to think about include:
- How will you reconfigure your dining area to adhere to physical distancing requirements?
- If you have large-party tables and gathering spaces, look at ways to break them into four-tops.
- Dining reconfiguration will require you to crunch your sales projection numbers with limited seating and look for other revenue streams.
- This will also require you to rethink your employee flow patterns to maintain physical distance.
- Make a list of protective equipment and supplies you will need to meet guidelines and start talking to your suppliers about ordering and maintaining stock of those supplies.
- And, will your protective equipment be branded?
- How will you address physical spacing in common spaces in your restaurant, like waiting areas, restrooms and carryout areas?
- Evaluate your cleaning tasks to add more frequency to the lists.
- How will you redistribute your team to tackle increased dining/common area cleaning?
- You will need to update to your Employee Handbook and training programs.
- Establish accountability matrix to keep your customers and employees safe.
As the possibility of reopening dining areas becomes in view, the CDC, states and industry associations will provide more details and specifics on those protocols and best practices. Until then, it’s up to you to create your own standards and guidelines that you anticipate will address this new physical-distance dining space. This is where you can continue to lead as you did when the COVID19 closures began.
It’s like Pizza Head owner Scott Sandler said during a recent Zoom call with Pizza Today, “It’s like opening a new business all over again.”
Take a look at other Pizza Today COVID-19 articles and resources: