As part of re-opening up coffee businesses, employers are now required to implement work safety plans to manage the risk of exposure from communicable diseases like Coronavirus COVID-19. This means ensuring that employee and customer exposure to the disease is managed. We’ve assembled some simple tips on how you can achieve this as part of your coffee shop re-opening plan.
Tip One – Train your staff
Ensuring all staff are trained in COVID Safe Procedures like ones available here or others is fundamental to protecting your workers but also meeting some of your work health and safety obligations. While it may seems obvious, ensuring that your staff know and understand communicable disease (including COVID-19) prevention strategies, you’ll put yourself ahead of the game by implementing an effective training regime.
Tip two – Understand your current obligations for ratio of persons to area
Ensuring that specific requirements for numbers of people in spaces comply with health directives i.e. currently at 1 person per 4 m2 or 1 per 2 m2 in some jursidictions is an important step in preventing the spread of communicable diseases. You may need to make an assessment of current size of the facility and how many people you are going to pop into a room. You’ll also need to think about your air conditioning and air handling in the facility. See details below.
Tip three – Have a visitor register available
You will be required to maintain a register of your visitors. We think that communal pens are not so nice when it comes to preventing the spread of disease so why not have your visitors sign up with an electronic contact-less platform like Bepoz or the The Visitance app
Tip Four – Screens at registers aren’t a bad idea
If you have staff who take orders at a register that is likely to be close to customers, a clear screen can assist in mitigating some exposure. They’re not perfect but may just stop that person sneezing or coughing on your staff member.
We note that you don’t want the screen to become a safety hazard in itself BUT it can help mitigate the spread of viruses if designed and installed correctly.
Tip Five – Getting your customer’s hands clean before they enter your coffee shop
While hand cleaning wont stop airborne transmission, it will assist in prevention of contamination of contact surfaces. Ensuring that non-touch hand sanitising stations are used at, or immediately adjacent to the entry points to the coffee shop is a great prevention method.
Tip Six – Have a mask available for staff and customers
Our principal consultant suggests why not make a suitable mask available for customers that’s printed with your logo or current advertising campaign. It’s a unique way to increase your quirky Instagram presence and do something nice for your customers at this time. Costs can vary for printing but some customers may be prepared to pay. It could be a value add for you business.
“Would you like a mask with that?” may help the spread of the disease and make you an extra buck as well.
Tip Seven – Contactless payments
If you haven’t already, now is the time for a contactless payment system. Avoid handling cash if you can. It’s another way to prevent contact points. You never really know where that cash has been anyway. We’d strongly recommend that you avoid cash transactions.
Tip Eight – How well are you cleaning your cups and plates?
We can’t stress the importance of ensuring that your cups are clean and appropriately washed. The WHO says that heat at 56°C kills the SARS coronavirus at around 10000 units per 15 min (quick reduction). Some other studies suggest that the dried virus on smooth surfaces retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%. What this means is that plates and cups must be cleaned in high heat environments.
Perhaps the most alarming research when it comes to deactivation of the virus with with heat comes out of France where researchers at the Aix-Marseille University found that “only during the protocol of heating the coronavirus for 92 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes was COVID-19 completely deactivated.”
Luke warm water won’t cut it! Neither will many antibacterial detergents. They assist but won’t guarantee COVID-19 free cups and saucers.
Encouraging the use of disposable recyclable cups at this time may be the best measure.
Tip Nine – Spacing of tables and chairs in your coffee shop
Yes …We know it seems inconceivable that a few months ago we would be considering separating chairs in a coffee shop, but it will now form part of the process in the foreseeable future. Ensuring that tables, seating is managed to provide appropriate social distancing will be another means to help you meet your obligations;
Tip ten – Clean and Clean Again
Keeping your coffee shop clean has always been important but its’ now more important than ever. Development of a cleaning regime for the tables and chairs that follows principles of infection control including but not limited to:
- the use of sanitisers on chair, desks, tables, door handles, toilet facilities;
- periodic dry fogging of room surfaces (where possible)
Current recommendations require that frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned hourly. You’ll also need to ensure quality control measure are adopted that assess the integrity of cleaning of the facility;
BTW – you cant clean newspapers and magazines well and, (god forbid)….menus….it might be time to think about these too.
Tip Eleven – Safe air conditioning for your coffee shop
The elephant in the room is definitely air conditioning when it comes to spread of communicable diseases. We would encourage conducting a review of the air handling in your coffee shop and toilet facilities (if you have one) to ensure that:
- There is enhanced air filtration such as HEPA filters or MERV 16 in rooms that are likely to be occupant dense;
- Increase exchanges of fresh outdoor air that ensure a clean air delivery rate to meet known standards (i.e.ASHRAE);
- Ensure that exhaust air from buildings is diluted and directed away from areas where there are likely to be personnel i.e. such as court yards.
- Ensure no re-circulation or short circuiting of air;
- Maintain temp and humidity to minimise infectious aerosols;
- Consider the use of room air cleaners;
There has been some evidence of COVID-19 transmission from air handling systems that are recirculating air when a person has remained near another person in a room with limited air changes.
Tip twelve – Preparing for actions in the event of an outbreak
Having a formal plan that details processes and what actions would be taken in the event of a communicable disease outbreak will be a fundamental component of any good coffee shop business going forward. You’ll need to think about what your response might look like if you do get an outbreak. You might consider:
- Contacting personnel who have been in attendance;
- Cleaning and sanitisation regimes;
- How to mitigate the efects of a business closure if an outbreak was to occur.
Getting through COVID-19 will challenge many of us but we’ll be more resilient in the future
It’s fair to say that these times will challenge the best business owners. Very few of us were well -prepared for the effects of COVID on business or on work safety. For many coffee shop owners the challenge of having to deal with additional hygiene requirements among other things will be tough.
Keep your head up, stay positive and resilient at this time. Risk mitigation in coffee shop businesses is good practice anyway. Communicable disease like COVID-19 are one of the risks that we must mitigate in order for business to be successful.
There’s work to do to keep your coffee shop, your staff and customers COVID-19 free but it’s all part of the challenges of a successful business.
If you’d like some help in preparing your coffee shop safety plans, COVIDSafe plans, feel free to chat with us or call us on 1300 087 888.
if you like this post you might also like our article on Work Safety in Coffee Shops