TRSA Urges U.S. Governors to Strengthen Restaurant Safety – Operators Need to Mobilize!

Posted April 28, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Maximizing restaurants’ hygiene requires more of them to adopt a cleanliness practice of outsourcing their supply of expertly laundered tablecloths, garments and other textiles and products that keep these facilities clean. TRSA is calling on the National Governors Association (NGA) today to prompt states to feature linen, uniform and facility services in guidance documents for restaurants as they reopen amid the current COVID-19 environment.

To this end, TRSA is advancing an advocacy and publicity campaign to prompt restaurants reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic to maximize hygiene through linen and uniform services. The campaign is being kicked off with a request to each respective governor through the NGA to guide these facilities accordingly (click here to see the letter). The campaign will continue in the upcoming weeks with communications to restaurants and consumers emphasizing the utility and value of expertly laundered and serviced tablecloths, garments and other textiles and products.

TRSA also is supplying a letter for operators to send to their respective governors and state health officials. Click here (TRSA Restaurant Safety Guidance) for a copy of a letter to download, place on company letterhead and send to the appropriate offices. Members are also encouraged to download the letter from TRSA President & CEO Joseph Ricci to Larry Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association, for use in their own correspondence to restaurateurs. The letter also can be used to send to your local newspaper and other news outlets.

More details about the campaign will be covered online in the TRSA Weekly Industry Update webinar at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 30. The Program will include guest presenters Ben Fox, senior marketing manager, Alsco Inc.; and Charles Crowell, director of strategy, Milliken & Co., sharing their observations of restaurant reopenings.

The letter notes that bacteria have been shown to be present in excessive amounts on bare restaurant tables, even with regular cleaning, in comparison with tablecloths. Bare tables can be a breeding ground for all types of microscopic bacteria. Tablecloths can provide a five-times-cleaner surface and are touched only at the corners by the server laying the cloth and by the immediate patrons.

TRSA member best-management practices help keep the dining public safe by raising restaurant cleanliness standards and inspiring public confidence, Ricci points out, identifying the following as practices that should be standards for any guidance released to restaurants and dining establishments for reopening:

  • Hygienically clean tablecloths, placemats and napkins should be used to reduce or eliminate disease transmission by touch. Replacing tablecloths each time new guests are seated ensures a clean and safe table. These products can also identify the tables to be used for social separation. Placemats can accomplish a similar result by seating guests further apart at the same table or counter. Hygienically Clean commercial laundry certification standards minimize contamination risk.
  • Staff should be given hygienically cleaned, commercially laundered uniforms daily such as chef coats, cook shirts, pants and aprons to wear throughout their shifts. This applies to takeout and delivery staff, as well as kitchen and wait staff. Research verifies the superior cleanliness and public preference for professional laundering of work uniforms. They should not be washed at home. Instead, they should be left in a bin at the restaurant to be picked up and commercially laundered. A clean uniform should be given out at the start of each employee’s shift, replacing the clothes in which they commuted to the restaurant.
  • Hand-sanitizer dispensers should be placed throughout restaurants for guests and staff to use.
  • Reusable/washable face masks that meet U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and disposable gloves should be worn by staff. Gloves should be changed out often throughout an employee’s shift.
  • Commercial cleaning solutions should be used on all hard surfaces throughout the day, including entryway door handles, kitchen areas and bathrooms.

TRSA is developing a guidance document and “explainer” animation for restaurants to optimize their use of linen, uniform and facility services to maximize facility hygiene. Animation that will prompt diners to recognize a restaurant’s use of such services also is in the works. Publicity placement in foodservice industry and consumer media is anticipated with social media advertising support.

“As America starts to get back to business and dining establishments begin to reopen, providing the public with clean and safe dining establishments will be a key part of an economic recovery,” Ricci said. “Teaching and requiring restaurants to abide by these steps should be a cornerstone of this process.”

Now is the time for TRSA members to act! Click here to download the restaurant safety guidance letter to send to your respective governor and state health officials, as well as local news outlets.

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