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Restaurant groups draft a COVID safety primer for guests, staffs and proprietors

The recommendations are intended as standard measures for all parties to follow as dining rooms reopen.
Photograph: Shutterstock

A group of restaurant trade associations and advocacy groups have drafted a primer listing the fundamental safety measures guests, eating places and staff should expect from one another as indoor dining returns to pre-pandemic levels.

A page is devoted to each of the parties, with another focused on the basics of ventilating a restaurant to impede the spread of COVID-19.  A deeper exploration of recommended safety measures is also included in the 74-page digital pamphlet.

The recommended practices tend toward the elementary: Wear a mask (advice given to both customers and staff). Keep at least six feet away from other people (again, to both parties).  Steer staff or visitors who may be carrying coronavirus away from the restaurant.

The section on ventilation provides such advice as “keep windows open” and make sure a ventilation system has been properly maintained.

The recommendations for restaurants and employees take the form of a COVID pledge, or what customers will find during a visit. The guidelines for consumers are billed as the Diner Code of Conduct, and include such advisories as “Be kind.”

The guidelines were drafted by the Food and Society Program of the Aspen Institute, a group that strives to bring food and beverage professionals together with representatives of the health and public safety communities. It is intended to provide a starting checklist for operators and consumers facing a patchwork of restaurant-related safety requirements from coast to coast.

“We set out to create one practical, streamlined, easy-to-use set of guidelines that will guarantee best practices for keeping both workers and diners safe as restaurants reopen,” Corby Kummer, the veteran food writer who serves as executive director of the Food and Society Program.

The Aspen Institute said the guidelines--Safety First: Protecting Workers and Diners as Restaurants Reopen--were drafted in collaboration with such diverse groups as the National Restaurant Association, One Fair Wage, the Independent Restaurant Coalition, the James Beard Foundation, and Jose Andres’ One World Kitchen.

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