Are you preparing for a reopening after lockdown? Here’s a handy checklist with several steps that you should take to make sure that you are ready.
Following the announcement of a ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ many businesses are getting ready to reopen after lockdown. Particularly for hospitality businesses, there are a lot of things that should be done to make sure that you are fully prepared. It’s likely a busy time with lots of questions coming from employees and you’ll probably have lots of your own.
It might be overwhelming trying to get everything in place in time, and it’ll be easy to forget important things to consider. With our experience working with many hospitality clients, we understand what is important. That’s why I have put together this short guide so that you can have a checklist to follow.
1. Create a COVID-19 Risk Assessment
One of the most important things to do is to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. That is why it is at the top of our checklist. Similar to a standard risk assessment, it shouldn’t be anything unfamiliar to you. Put simply, you need to examine your business and highlight any areas of concern.
A typical assessment will identify activities or situations that may increase the transmission of the virus. It will look at who might be at risk and how. It will also analyse how likely it is that someone will be exposed and how you can remove or reduce the risk of transmission. This could be done by deciding on actions to take to either eliminate these risks or control them. Doing this will give you a guideline as to what changes need to be made before reopening after lockdown.
2. Check Your Booking Systems
If your booking systems haven’t been used for a while, you’ll want to check they are still working properly. A good place to start is making sure that they are connected to the correct internet source. You should also ensure that booking capabilities reflect any changes in the maximum capacity that COVID may have caused.
Probably the most obvious thing to check is that the date and time are correct. This may sound silly, but some systems might not automatically update after being switched off. With the clocks going forward on 28th March, it is also likely that your system might not have moved forward an hour.
3. Have Personal Hygiene Measures in Place
One of the most practical ways of limiting the spread of a virus is good personal hygiene. As a hospitality business, I have no doubts that you already have proper hygiene procedures in place. I’m sure everyone is now even more aware of the importance of a good handwashing technique. However, it is a good idea to reinforce this importance. You can do this by using posters near sinks around the workplace to demonstrate how best to wash your hands.
A crucial part of a good hygiene policy is to make sure that both staff and customers have access to hand sanitiser where sinks are not accessible. An assessment of your premises will highlight where hand sanitising stations may need to be installed. Again, you should put up posters to remind people to clean their hands.
4. Update Food Hygiene Procedures
As a hospitality business, I am sure you are no strangers to what good food hygiene is. However, with the emergence of the new coronavirus, the way you work may have been disrupted. For example, you may have had to switch to a different food supplier. In this case, it would be wise to check on their own hygiene policies.
You may also have had to change the dishes that you offer to run a reduced menu. If this is the case then you should review food preparation processes such as what is reheated, defrosted or chilled. Many changes to your business operations can affect how you run your kitchen so it’s crucial to monitor this.
5. Create an Effective Cleaning Schedule
Hygiene is of the highest importance with any hospitality business, even before the pandemic. Firstly, you should make sure that your premises undergo a deep clean. As you look at reopening after lockdown, you should also consider how your cleaning schedules and procedures may need to change. This could include having a rota for daily and weekly cleaning. This should focus on high-contact points such as chairs, tables, taps and door handles. If you are unsure, ask your staff as they may be able to shed some light.
6. Test-Run Your Appliances and Equipment
Having been unused for a while, there is a chance that your equipment may have become damaged due to lack of use. A good thing to do before you get too near your opening date is checking your appliances. This could involve simply turning them on. On the other hand, they may need a proper ‘practice run’. Make sure that any pipes are flushed through and any bulbs or elements are working correctly. Before you start using them, it is vital to give your equipment a deep clean. This is especially important for any systems that use water.
7. Put Proper Social Distancing Measures in Place
To limit the spread of the virus, social distancing guidelines should be enforced. That can be done using floor stickers to tell customers where to stand. Other signage could be used to signal a one-way system and where hand sanitising stations are.
Other measures that should be in place are ensuring that staff wear face coverings and customers use them as per the Government guidance. Screens should also be used between tables to separate customers when reopening after lockdown.
8. Confirm Maximum Capacity Numbers
With the introduction of social distancing measures, the number of tables that you can fit inside your premises may have changed. You should carefully measure how many tables you can safely accommodate and subsequently how many customers you can accept. This will help give you an understanding of more precise measures that need to be put in place. You should also update your booking system with these new numbers. This will ensure that you don’t accept more bookings than you can safely fulfil. This is a crucial step in preparing for reopening after lockdown.
9. Encourage Contactless Payments
I’m sure you’re all aware of the push for people to use more contact payments. This is continuing, in an attempt to limit the number of physical interactions between customers and staff. This also reduces the number of contact points around your premises.
Where you can, you should try to encourage contactless payments. This could be via the use of contactless card readers. Many businesses have started taking orders and payments through an app. This is particularly useful if you also offer a click & collect service and will continue to do so after reopening after lockdown.
I hope that this checklist for reopening after lockdown has helped you. I know that it’s exciting that we’re one step closer to some form of normality. I also understand that even with this excitement, there is a lot of stress involved in making sure that your business is ready for reopening.
If you need any more guidance, High Speed Training has put together a handy document with a more detailed checklist to help you get prepared.
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