the guidelines of the Higher Institute of Health


After months of imprisonment at home, you can finally go back to breakfast at the bar, even if in a radically different way than we used to. Masks, barriers and contingent entrances are some of the new rules to reduce the risk of contagion established by the Dpcm of 17 May which gave the green light to the openings (which we have already talked about in this article). Precautions that, most likely, will accompany us for a long time.

To meet to customers and managers bewildered by the new rules, the Higher Institute of Health has developed guidelines for the restaurant sector, contained in the document “Indications ad interim on the containment of the SARS-CoV-2 infection and food hygiene in the context of catering and food administration “. The report was produced by the ISS working group on veterinary public health and food safety COVID-19, with the collaboration of experts, including Antonello Paparella, food microbiologist at the University of Teramo. Below are the indications for bars and clubs that do not provide kitchen service.

1) First of all, the manager must place signs at the entrance of the room that prohibit access to people with flu-like symptoms or attributable to coronavirus infection.

2) As for restaurants, the staff of bars and similar establishments must ensure, as far as possible also in the areas outside the premises, that the distance of one meter between customers is respected in any queues for access.

If a queue forms at the entrance to the room, the safety distance of at least one meter must be respected

3) At the entrance of the room, a hand sanitizing spray or gel must be available to customers, also located near the toilets.

4) Horizontal signs should be placed on the floor in front of the counter and at the cash desk to indicate the safety distance to customers; whenever possible, the spacing signs should also be on the edge of the counter.

5) When the structure permits, obligatory routes must be indicated to allow customers to reach the counter without meeting the customers already served who are preparing to leave.

6) Entry by a number of people must be allowed to ensure that the interpersonal distance of at least 1 meter is respected within the premises.

7) Where possible, it is better to use physical protection barriers between the customer and the staff. Barriers should always be used for cash desks.

8) The manager of the exercise must verify that customers at the time of entry wear the surgical or reusable (community) mask until the moment of consumption, to reduce the spread of Sars-CoV-2 by minimizing the spread of respiratory droplets by asymptomatic subjects, therefore unconsciously infected.

A female Waiter of European appearance in a medical mask serves Latte coffee.
Bar and club staff must always wear a mask

9) If in the room there are areas for consumption standing with tables or other support surfaces, the distance of at least one meter between the customers must be respected.

10) Exhibitors, such as candy and chewing gum exhibitors, should not be directly accessible by customers, unless hand hygiene is guaranteed (in which case a sanitizing gel should be present near the exhibitors) or used gloves.

11) In the premises, the use of vending machines and self-service food and drink displays should be avoided, limiting access only to staff. Avoid the buffets.

12) Staff should always wear a mask and take stringent hygiene measures, such as washing hands more often and not touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

13) The staff must clean and disinfect the surfaces of the bar counter and the support surfaces after each service.

After each service counter and worktops must always be disinfected

14) To reduce the number of accesses during the year, it is necessary to incentivize distance or online sales, both with home delivery methods and with collection on agreed time.

15) Also in this case it is advisable to encourage payment methods in order to avoid the exchange of money. We recommend using contactless cards.

Experts from the Higher Institute of Health also included some indications for customers in the report.

1) Customers should avoid close contact (less than one meter) with other customers and bar staff, respecting the indications provided by managers on distance and hygiene.

2) You must remain in the room for the time strictly necessary and remove the mask for consumption only when the other customers and staff are at a distance greater than one meter. The mask must always be worn when moving inside the room, for example to reach the toilet.

3) It is best to avoid sharing glasses and bottles with other customers.

To download the complete document with guidelines for restaurants, takeaway and home delivery, click here.

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Giulia Crepaldi

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