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Restaurant Report Card: 3.11.2020 Responding to COVID-19

Take a look at some of the restaurants around Knoxville that will be open on Christmas Day. /...
Take a look at some of the restaurants around Knoxville that will be open on Christmas Day. / (MGN)<br />(WVLT)
Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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During a threat of COVID-19, health experts agree restaurants will likely be among the first industries to feel an immediate drop in volume of business.

So what can you do to keep yourself and your customers safe when they're out to eat?

For starters, Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey recommends a push for more carry-out orders and shifting servers into support roles, such as taking orders, preparing food, and running it to cars.

"We are going to have to promote a little more, maybe carryout options," says Batey. "Because people are going to want to eat, it's just they don't want to be around other people. Maybe some of the staff time has to be shifted because they're going to have a lot more carryout orders than they're used to filling."

The Ohio Restaurant Association posted recommendations from ECOLAB. Among them:

- Restaurant owners should closely monitor employee health and encourage symptomatic employees to stay home.

- Consider the ability for employees to work from home and come up with a plan.

- Consider offering take-out service only.

- Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.

Batey adds you should also boost the concentration of the bleach.

"They already have protocols in place for when there might be like a vomiting incident where they have to use a little concentration of bleach to clean that up," explained Batey. "We want them to use that higher concentration of bleach more regularly in cleaning those surfaces."

Key touch points include:

- Tables and Chairs

- Handles and Faucets

- Switches and Keypads

- Soap Dispenser Push Plates

- Cleaning Tools and Buckets

Another recommendation from Batey is social distancing. Keep your customers 6 feet apart.

The Wood County Health Commissioner says an easy way to accomplish this would be to take away some of the tables in your restaurant. So, you keep them farther spaced in the same room.

The hope is it will be enough to keep restaurants in business and keep customers safe.