Hepatitis A is the only foodborne illness that can be prevented with a vaccine – yet it has led to 39,000 cases, 24,000 hospitalizations and 374 deaths since 2016, according to the CDC. The disease, which can cause serious liver infections, spreads through fecal-oral contact, whether from person to person or via contaminated food or water, which makes restaurant industry practices critical to controlling its spread. (An outbreak linked to a Virginia restaurant has recently doubled in size.) A report from Food Safety Magazine urges restaurant operators to consider offering employees a vaccine for Hepatitis A, combined with enforcing an effective handwashing policy, as a result. If a sizeable portion of your restaurant’s patrons are the young or the elderly, this could be especially important. Absent a vaccine, what safety measures might your restaurant improve to better protect itself against a potential Hepatitis outbreak?
As flu season dovetails with the Covid-19 delta variant in the coming months, you can expect a rise in employee illnesses and even just false alarms that nonetheless require you to exercise extra caution when serving guests. The reservations platform Resy recently announced it is offering a free way for restaurants to track employees’ proof of Covid-19 vaccination, test results and other details used to track symptoms of illness. Restaurant Business reports that Resy has partnered with Clear to offer Clear’s Health Pass technology through 2022 to restaurants using Resy.
You are likely hiring more staff as we emerge from the pandemic – and you may feel that having vaccinated employees may make patrons more comfortable about dining with you. So can you require vaccination of new hires? In general, yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). For example, as a recent Q&A from the National Law Review indicates, an employer can ask if a candidate has been vaccinated and require proof of that vaccination. What could pose difficulty under the Americans with Disabilities act is asking an unvaccinated person why he or she hasn’t been vaccinated, which could elicit information about a disability. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/eeoc-says-employers-may-mandate-covid-19-vaccinations-subject-to-limitations