As 2020 comes to a well needed goodbye, we have been flirting with being close to moving to the next Tier in Honolulu. What does that mean for Honolulu restaurants? Will it be back to ‘normal’ and be ‘just like old times’? Can we unmask, put away the spray bottles of sanitizer? The answer is that restaurants will be able to sit groups as large as 10, doubled from the current 5 in Tier 2. Stay tuned for updates from the Mayors office for exact details, but the cleaning and social distancing protocols will likely remain in place.
A term I heard recently was ‘Pandemic Burnout’ . We are all way done with the cleaning and sanitizing we have had to be doing, but it still is REQUIRED to be done. There have been no major clusters traced to restaurants here in Hawaii, but we all need to be diligent to keep it that way for both your restaurant and the Hawaiian Restaurant Community. Before we all get into our busy, minus 50%, season, reassess your operations response by reviewing your Response Plan that had been created months ago. Any changes in procedures, chemicals used? Are there any parts of you plan that have not been working? Now is the time to freshen up your plan, then review with your staff.
How is your required signage looking? If you have the same tape on the ground or handwritten signs that you had there since April, they have got to be tired looking. The guidelines will be in place for a long time so maybe refresh them.. Some restaurants that do signage really well have custom made floor stickers with restaurant name, or if they are known for their pizza, they have pizza stickers on the ground every 6 feet. The Hawaii Restaurant Association has graphic companies as members that would be happy to work with you.
Back in the kitchen – cooks generally are on board with the mask rules, even with working in a hot area and with the mask muffling our voices. The most common way to transfer the covid virus is thru unmasked breathing while in close quarters. 6′ social distancing is generally not practical in a kitchen, but that is a good reason to maintain proper mask usage. I have seen too many masks held under the nose or chin. The mask protects both the person AND the people near them. Remind your staff that masks are in use to protect them and their coworkers. There have been cases where a kitchen staff had multiple cases and were in the news because they had to shut down. Don’t let that be your operation!
You should have as a policy in your staff handbook that hands are required to be washed after touching exposed skin, face and nose. As a mask is all over those areas, hands should be washed after touching or adjusting masks as well. Kinda makes sense! Provide refresher training to your staff.
Moving into 2021, ServSafe Food Manager Certification classes will continue. Watch your HRA eblasts and peterbfoodsafety.com for class date and location announcements. ServSafe Certification is a key component to ensure your staff is up to date and following the latest guidance, as well as a part of becoming certified for the National Restaurant Association Dining Commitment https://restaurant.org/articles/news/servsafe-dining-commitment This program allows you to place door clings and add to your website the Dining Commitment logo. This shows your guests that your restaurant follows a higher standard of Food and Guest Safety.
Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and bring on 2021.
Contact Peter B at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about Food Safety Audits for your operation, with a discount available for HRA members!.