What the post-Covid-19 restaurants will look like? From 18 May, restaurants will be able to reopen, a new step towards slow normalization and, especially a start of recovery for one of the sectors most affected by the "lockdown". The so-called Horeca (Hotel, restaurants, bars and catering) it was an industry that, with two months of closure, lost a massive portion of revenue. To change, in these months, it wasn't just our habits, but also job and earnings prospects for many professionals in the industry. Now, the reopening initially scheduled for June 1, was brought forward to May 18. But what are the precautions that restaurants will have to take before and after opening? What it will be like when we go back to the restaurant, how we'll order, how we'll feel about doing something that just two months ago was normal routine?
A little anticipation of what might have come today from the technical document drafted by Inail and The Higher Institute of Health (Iss). That gave guidance to provide the policy with elements to be assessed to ensure a safe reopening for workers and, Obviously, customers.
Is’ the biggest problems are social distancing and the use of individual protections.. The masks, while you dine, you can't wear it and in a restaurant there are menus, cutlery, crockery and the food itself that can become sources of contagion. This is why respecting safe distances becomes essential. In short, the 'pizzate'’ among friends, birthday parties in the eatery and meetings of former classmates for the aperitif will not be back anytime soon. And also my column on “where to eat” will be updated more rarely than usual.
Restaurants of the future: space between tables and dividing barriers
According to Inail and Iss, restaurants will first have to re-modulate the tables and the seats. Ensuring the distance between the tables no less than 2 meters. The predetermined maximum capacity limit, could be that of a space that should normally be no less than 4 square meters for each customer. Unless the possibility of adopting organizational measures such as, For example,, dividing barriers” Plexiglass that has been talked about so much. A workable solution for large restaurants, but that could bring to its knees all those small or very small places that already have a small number of tables and that may have to halve it.
Air conditioning or not? It focuses on more seats on the outside
There is no certainty that the use of air conditioners could affect the spread of Coronavirus but, with the summer heat coming up, another of the nodes that affect the restaurants is that of the air conditioning and the bathrooms, often devoid of natural aeration. According to the guidelines "it is good to always favor the replacement of natural air through doors and windows". Ahead of the summer, one solution could be to prioritise the use of outdoor spaces over indoor spaces. You could therefore think of a greater supply of seats in the dehors, on sidewalks or squares. A normal thing abroad but that in Italy (paradoxes of the beautiful country where you could eat out for 9 months out of 12) it's not so widespread, also because of the public land occupancy tax.
Reservations required and no to buffets
Have you ever decided to go to the restaurant or the pizzeria at the last moment, without booking, willing even to wait on the sidewalk with friends who free a table? After-19 restaurants, it won't happen again. Why to avoid gatherings of people waiting outside the premises, The guidelines suggest a shift in the innovative service and with preferably mandatory booking, "spreading” bookings on different time slots. Then, get ready to be on time.
At risk, instead, all those amenities or restaurants that include buffets or the like. Stop the beloved aperitif, to buffet starters, at the dessert buffet, Sunday brunch or all you can eat. But also to buffet breakfasts in hotels and catering services.
Goodbye to the paper menu
Stop the classic paper menu and the endless minutes spent trying to choose what we want to eat. To avoid the risk of contagion due to contact with surfaces that could be contaminated, in the restaurants of the post-Covid-19 the paper menu will have to give way to the menus written on the whiteboards. As already happens sometimes in pizzeria or with the dishes of the day. Or menus that can be accessed via apps and sites: They're being born, Just for this purpose, different apps that allow restaurants to manage menus completely online. Another solution could be the disposable menus of the day, printed on disposable sheets. Better if in recycled paper, since the environment is already suffering enough for our inattention in the disposal of disposable gloves and masks.
The mask at the restaurant
If it's true that you can't eat with the mask, However, customers will have to wear it when they don't eat. So we're going to have to use the mask when we get into the restaurant., as we order, while we chat while we wait for the food to arrive. And of course when we go to the bathroom (that will need to be sanitized frequently) or at the checkout to pay. About payment, the crates will have to be equipped with areas with plexiglass barriers. And you should preferably use contactless electronic payments.
Organizing in the kitchen
Security, going to the restaurant, doesn't obviously have to be maximum customer side, but also operators side. Who works in the kitchen, the chef, his brigade, waiters and dishwashers, will work in often small spaces and very often without natural aeration. Now, apart from the discomfort of having to work without air conditioning, they will have to wear surgical masks and gloves in nitrile "in all activities where this is possible". A road, reopening restaurants after Covid-19, which all comes uphill. The desire to start again is a lot and we will have to work together all to make it possible.