Published in Food/Agribusiness

Restaurant association offers safety guidelines with request to reopen industry May 29

BY Friday, May 08, 2020 02:00pm

The trade association representing Michigan restaurants issued guidelines and a checklist today for reopening.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association also urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allow restaurants to reopen May 29 after her extended stay-home executive order expires. The association said its guidelines are designed “to put restaurateurs in a position to safely reopen operations, while giving the general public confidence that they can safely return to their favorite restaurants.”

“The Roadmap to Reopening is thoughtful and thorough guidance for restaurant operators, incorporating the best practices of several federal agencies, relevant content from existing executive orders and innovative recommendations from our involvement in the Michigan Economic Recovery Council,” Justin Winslow, the association’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Knowing that half of all states have already reopened restaurant dining in some capacity, we felt the time was right to share our expertise.”

The association offers health and safety guidelines, operational protocols for customer and employees and tips for consumer confidence. The checklist includes:

  • Expanding and establishing cleaning procedures.
  • Developing a COVID-19 response team that’s customized for small restaurants and large chains.
  • Employee personal protection equipment requirements.
  • Customer social distancing.
  • Managing food pick-up and delivery.
  • Verifying third parties, guidance for working with vendors and suppliers.
  • Reopening water systems for safe consumption and use.

The association estimated two weeks ago that the pandemic and executive order that only allows takeout service cost restaurants in the state $1.2 billion in sales during April. Nearly nine in 10 member restaurants had laid off or furloughed 249,000 employees, more than half were temporarily closed, and 2 percent closed permanently.

“Michigan Restaurants have been decimated since their forced closure on March 16,” Winslow said. “Those that remain in business stand ready to meet or exceed the challenging, but necessary new standard procedures that will keep their guests and team members safe. These restaurateurs are Michiganders who need to be afforded that opportunity before it is too late.”

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