Local governments have been focusing on outdoor dining for good reason: As the weather warms and we need air conditioning to keep spaces cool, the risk of spreading virus particles can increase indoors. Recent research from the University of Oregon and the University of California, Davis, found that the path of air circulation within a restaurant plays an important role limiting the spread of the virus, particularly because the air stream in a restaurant can carry virus particles beyond the six-foot social distancing guideline. However, risks improve in situations with a window and an exhaust fan helping to manage air flow. The research team created a visual model to show the differences in transmission in a closed room where indoor air is recirculated and in a room that circulates some outdoor air through a window. While circulating outdoor air isn’t workable in every restaurant or every part of the country, Boston 25 News reports that Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, one of the authors of the research, said you can test a building for the presence of the virus and then take steps to adjust air circulation patterns to minimize risk in your facility.
As you implement waste reduction practices in your restaurant, are you aware of how these changes may be impacting your food safety culture and vice versa? Your food safety and waste reduction practices affect each other – improving one practice may enhance (or require you to change your approach to) the other. According to Adam Johnson, vice president and general manager for Global Food Retail Services at Ecolab, making a commitment to donate surplus food may demand that you fine-tune your protocol regarding the proper preparation, storage, transportation and serving of your food, for instance. Further, introducing compost bins to prevent waste from going to landfills will require you to monitor the capacity of those bins so they don’t overflow and to clean and sanitize them regularly to avoid attracting pests. Finally, improving your food safety program will make you more effective at monitoring food storage temperatures, appliance functionality, supplier performance and more – all of which helps you reduce the volume of food you have to discard.