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FRLA releases reopening guidelines for restaurants and hotels

by | Apr 27, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated Florida’s hospitality and tourism sectors, leaving business leaders to search for ways to bolster one of the Sunshine State’s paramount industries.

With much of the state looking for ways to safely end the shutdown and reopen businesses, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) released new guidelines on Monday to help restore customer confidence and revitalize Florida’s hospitality industry.

The guidelines, developed in consultation with the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), deals with several key areas that promote social distancing while allowing patrons to still experience a dining or lodging experience.

Based on scientific evidence and proper safety measures, today’s guidelines are defined by the federal government and implemented by state and local jurisdictions. Some of the standards to be implemented at restaurants can be seen below.

Food Safety:

  • Discard all food items that are out of date
  • Avoid cafeteria-style dining arrangements (if salad bars or buffets are permitted efforts to mitigate risk should include barriers to block virus spread from sneezes and coughs and service utensils should be handled by staff and/or washed frequently)
  • Ensure ServSafe certifications of persons in charge and Florida mandated food handler training are up to date

Cleaning and Sanitizing:

  • Thoroughly detail clean and sanitize entire facility, especially if it has been closed
  • Avoid all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants
  • Make hand sanitizer readily available to guests

Employee Health and Personal Hygiene:

  • Per existing FDA Food Code requirements, employees who are sick should remain home
  • If an employee should become ill or present signs of illness the operator should identify that during a pre-work screening and follow their established policies on when they are allowed to return to work but at a minimum to follow CDC guidelines – to self-isolate for seven days from the onset of symptoms and be symptom-free for 3 days without medication
  • Train all employees on the importance and expectation of increased frequency of handwashing, the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol and, clear instruction to avoid touching hands to face

Responsible Social Distancing:

  • Update floor plans for full-service restaurants, redesigning seating arrangement to ensure at least six feet of separation from seating to seating
  • Post signage on entrance door that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is to be permitted in the restaurant
  • Limit contact between wait staff and guests and, where face coverings are not mandated, consider requiring wait staff with direct customer contact to wear face coverings as recommended by the CDC

The guidelines serve as a precursor to a set of standards that FRLA will release in the coming week.

For the full guidance, including hotel protocols, click HERE.

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