Food Processing and COVID-19
The restaurant industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tons of restaurants are never going to open again, and others were barely scrapping by, with their N95 masks, thanks to the delivery services.
In this article, we are going to explain the problems that these industries face and how they can protect their employees from COVID-19.
How COVID-19 Impacted the Restaurant Industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic is a unique case, because it hit all restaurants nationwide all at once, which makes the impact on the economy even greater. In early April, tons of farmers started dumping their milk because the market didn’t have enough demand for it. The impact of this pandemic for the industry is going to be tremendous because many restaurants work at only 30% capacity.
The short-term challenge for the industry is access to cash while in the long-term is having access to credit. The situation is apocalyptic for many restaurants because they simply don’t have enough capital to continue paying their employees. Analysts predict that 2/3 of all restaurants won’t survive the pandemic.
Almost all of the restaurants in the US are a small family-owned business. That makes the hit on the economy even harder. Experts predict that the entire industry is going to lose $225 in direct loses. Sadly, it’s going to get worse for the restaurant industry before it gets better.
How Can Restaurants Protect Their Employees During COVID-19?
As a start, restaurants have to ensure that their staff have access to high-quality ingredients, so they can cook the food. They should check if their suppliers continue to make their delivers on time, meeting their quality control. Also, employers have to provide their employees with suitable cleaning chemicals that aren’t expired.
At the same time, the machinery and equipment in each restaurant has to be cleaned up and tested to ensure it can function normally. Restaurants should consider training their staff about food hygiene. The same goes for the people that make the deliveries. They should know what the best and safest way to handle food is.
Last but not least, restaurants have to provide their employees with personal protective equipment like:
- Face masks
If your restaurant has a big kitchen, providing face masks to your employees will be really helpful. That way, when they are a lot of people in the same room, you can feel sure that they won’t get infected or compromise the quality of the food.
- Face coverings
The governments have created guidance for businesses about wearing face coverings. Inappropriate use or handling of face coverings can be put the food safety and hygiene at risk as well as the health of your staff.
If your staff wears face coverings when they travel to work, you should ensure that they have access to disposable face coverings or a place to clean them up.
Also, you can upgrade your workwear policy to allow your staff the option to wear a face-covering during the workday.
On the other hand, they may be situations where wearing a face-covering might not be appropriate. If that’s the case, you should let your staff know that they have to wear a face mask during work hours, so they can mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The government requires a restaurant to provide protection to their employees. Some of them may even have to adopt a glove-use policy, so they can deliver the food safely. The best way to ensure that food handlers have excellent personal hygiene is by frequently washing their hands.
Wearing nitrile gloves also provides great protection, but they are not a substitute for handwashing. COVID-19 can easily contaminate them if you’re wearing them frequently. Your staff should change them as often as possible, and they must wash their hands before and after changing the gloves. Also, they should be changed after each non-food related activity like opening and closing the door, handling money and emptying bins.
Keep in mind that food workers shouldn’t touch their mouth and eyes when wearing gloves.
To summarize, the restaurant industry has been hit incredibly hard by the COVID-19. Experts predict that 2/3 of all restaurants are never going to reopen again, which is going to hurt the economy. Most of them are small businesses owned by a single family, leaving even more people without jobs.
At the same time, the restaurants that continue to stay open have to ensure that they maintain high hygiene. They should ensure that their staff has access to excellent ingredients that haven’t expired. Also, they have to provide their employees with cleaning chemicals like hand sanitizers, so they can clean themselves regularly. Restaurants should think about training their employees about food hygiene.
Restaurant owners have to ensure that their employees have access to face masks or face coverings, so they can use them during the workday. Also, all of the employees have to wear gloves while caring out the food.
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Thank you for reading this.
Make sure you and your employees stay safe and healthy.