June 3, 2020
All around the world, restaurants are switching their closed signs to open. But reopening restaurants after lockdown has a profound range of challenges and each country seems to be approaching them somewhat differently. The restaurant industry has been among the hardest hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprising, restaurant owners are anxious to get back to business and earn income, but many still fear virus outbreaks and how they might affect reopening plans. The following are some of the steps that restaurants in countries around the world are taking to reopen and operate safely in a pandemic-affected world.
In the U.S., restaurants are in the reopening phase in most parts of the country. In some cities, like Chicago, dining-in is restricted to outdoor seating. In most places, however, restaurants are limiting the number of tables they seat in order to maintain social distancing. Staff are wearing masks and gloves. However, as the virus is still present, this situation is fluid. Many restaurants are still concerned about local outbreaks and whether or not they will, once again, return to takeout service only.
In Canada, the restaurant is encouraged to employ best practices as outlined by the Canadian restaurant industry, Restaurants Canada. These practices include maintaining social distancing between diners, employing strict cleaning and sanitation protocols, and ramping up personal hygiene practices like hand washing. Restaurant staff are also encouraged to wear PPE as outlined by Canada's public health authorities.
Lockdown and restrictions are now easing in China and Hong Kong. In many restaurants that are opening to dine-in service, owners are placing cardboard barriers between tables and setting up full-body sanitation stations. Restaurant staff are clad in masks and gloves and submit to regular temperature checks. In fact, the temperatures of staff are listed on the receipts of takeout orders in some cities. In large cities like Shanghai, the government has set up "sanitation tunnels" where customers can walk through before heading into restaurants or shops. China's rules and regulation for reopening are stricter than those of many other nations currently, but the virus wreaked havoc for months there and the government hopes to reduce the risk for further outbreaks.
South Korea has been easing restrictions, but even as some restaurants and nightclubs began to reopening, a cluster of virus outbreaks led the government to once again close restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. When these businesses do reopen again, South Korean officials have encouraged them to maintain social distancing and avoid transacting business with cash. Restaurant staff will be required to wear masks and diners will be seated in a zigzag fashion with space between to promote social distancing.
Italy's restaurants are slowly beginning to reopen--though not all. Some owners in places hardest hit by the virus are continuing to stay locked down. Many restaurants have reported that the restrictions for dine-in social distancing are too strict and would cut too deeply into the restaurant's income to make reopening profitable. The Italian government is requiring all restaurants to provide masks and gloves for staff and to space tables at a distance of 3.3 feet from one another. For small trattorias, these regulations have made reopening a challenging prospect. Some establishments are resorting to outdoor dining only for now.
Restaurants in Spain are beginning to reopen but are adopting a wide range of safety protocols. Many bars and restaurants are investing in protective screens to place between tables. Staff members must wear gloves and masks and sanitize tables and public spaces with greater frequency. On the other hand, many small restaurants fear that social distancing will be next to impossible to manage given their small dining spaces. As in Italy, many restaurants are taking advantage of the warm weather to promote outdoor dining. Some restaurants with the means are installing thermal cameras to check the temperatures of customers and staff.
In Japan, restaurants, other businesses, and attractions have now reopened. While restaurants are encouraged to promote social distancing, there have been many reports that people are not following these regulations. Many do wear masks, but the social distancing has been lax at restaurants, particularly busy lunch counters in larger cities like Tokyo. Restaurant staff are wearing masks and monitoring the situation in case outbreaks occur. However, universal rules or regulations are not being followed at this period early in the country's reopening process.
New Zealand has a largely positive reputation for its handling of the pandemic. The pandemic led to the loss of 21 lives in New Zealand--a low count in comparison to other nations that did not lockdown hard or quarantine at the level that New Zealand did. The country is now engaging in widespread testing and will continue to do so. Restaurants have reopened and are encouraged to practice social distancing and take other precautions (wearing masks) to reduce the risk of an outbreak.
While many restaurants are reopening to dine in service, most remain committed to offering carryout service for people who are still concerned about safety. Cuboh provides restaurants with 24/7 support, helping them manage all their delivery service with one convenient dashboard. Get in touch to let Cuboh help you streamline your online ordering and delivery process.
The swift spread of COVID-19 has changed the world. Nonessential businesses are closed, and millions of people are out of work. With social distancing rules keeping customers from filling tables, restaurants have found themselves with mounting costs and nowhere to turn. Some restaurants made the decision to shut down and hope for the best, but others are working to keep their doors open.
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