Whenever a black light experiment is conducted in a restaurant with a buffet to see how quickly germs can spread, the results are a bit astonishing. It appears that germs can spread rapidly between counter surfaces, utensils, plates, and on people's faces and hands. Even in restaurants that do not have a buffet, there is still the chance that an infected restaurant employee could quickly spread the Covid-19 virus to other employees and customers.
We understand that handwashing can limit this problem, but even then, if someone is infected with Covid-19, handwashing alone is not likely to be enough. This is because even with clean hands, anytime someone infected with Covid-19 sneezes, coughs, sings, talks, or just breaths, they produce respiratory droplets that carry the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends using face masks in restaurants, among other places, to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. While face masks are recommended for customers, they are vitally important to employees preparing or serving food, including bartenders serving drinks and others involved in cleaning up.
While there is no specific material a mask has to be made of to be accepted in public, it is generally believed that a Covid-19 face mask should have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. If purchasing a three-layer mask, you want an inner layer of absorbent material, such as cotton, a middle layer of non-woven non-absorbent material, such as polypropylene, and an outer layer of non-absorbent material, such as polyester or polyester blend.
Other requirements for a mask are that it should completely cover your nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps and have a nose wire to keep air from leaking out at the top of the mask. Another benefit to a nose wire is that it should keep your glasses from getting foggy. If you are wearing a gaiter, it should wrap comfortably around your face and neck while covering your nose and mouth. A gaiter should also be two layers thick.
Employees should wear disposable gloves at all times. If they are handling garbage bags or disposable trash, they should be thrown away when that task is completed. Nitrile gloves are an excellent choice because they are biodegradable, but latex gloves work also, and so do gloves made from a nitrile/vinyl blend.
Safety Goggles, Safety Glasses, and face shields
The Covid-19 virus can infect you through your mucus membranes, including the membranes in your eyes. To protect the mucosa in your eyes, you would want to wear safety goggles, safety glasses, or a face shield. Safety goggles and safety glasses should have barriers on the tops and sides to avoid airborne transmission. A face shield should wrap around either side of your face and extend from your forehead to your chin.
Making sure that your staff has the appropriate PPE for safe food service will protect them and your customers and help your restaurant stay open. After all, customers are looking for more than food. They want to enjoy themselves, and to do this--they must feel safe.