Many Yuma restaurants have started implementing mandatory facemask rules for employees. The move came after the CDC changed its stance, asking people to wear masks in certain public settings. Restaurant owners haven’t received direct guidance from the government on what they should do; but many industry members in Yuma have taken to wearing masks and covering their noses and mouths in kitchens and when delivering food to homes and curbside take-out.
Face coverings are one of the many safety precautions being instituted at Yuma restaurants. Management at restaurants have also applied a tighter hand-washing schedule and are paying more attention to disinfecting surfaces and swapping out gloves. Mostly Muffins is even installing protective Plexiglass barriers at their drive through window according to owner Courtney Sellers.
The CDC has not found any link that food is a source of transmission of COVID-19, According to Dr. Atul Gupta, medical director of infection and prevention at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lennox Illinois, said in a recent interview with MSNBC. New Lennox is one of the many areas around the country that has been particularly ravaged by the virus. Though there aren’t official guidelines, Gupta said he’s glad to hear people are using masks to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Food handlers should follow stringent precautions of frequent hand washing and cleaning of surfaces while preparing food,” Gupta says. “The virus could potentially be transmitted on the surface of food packaging, so keeping these surfaces clean and free of contamination is important. The virus could also be transmitted on packaging you get from the grocery store. Limiting your exposure to other people is the single most important thing you can do.”
If limiting your exposure to other people is the single most important precaution you can take, then restaurant take-out is safer than battling the crowds at your local grocery store. Food service is already a very highly regulated industry. Commercial kitchens are regularly inspected by the local health department, and are held to strict sanitation guidelines that make them safer than most of the kitchens in our homes. After implementing these additional Covid-19 specific measures, a commercial kitchen just might be the safest place you can be.
Americans aren’t used to seeing masks unless they’re in California where air pollution in LA and the Bay Area is a larger problem. Now that more Yuma restaurants are starting to implement mask wearing as part of their food safety program, consumers will have to adjust their thinking on the issue. Seeing employee’s in masks might be startling at first, but it should also bring confidence that the restaurant is taking every precaution to protect their employees and customers.
Many local restaurants recently attained ServSafe COVID-19 accreditation. This is now being offered online for free. Many Arizona restaurant workers are legally mandated to take a safety course, like ServSafe. Outside delivery drivers like Grub-Hub don’t face such requirements. When it comes to masks, ServSafe has not made a recommendation. It’s following the CDC’s findings, that doctors have yet to find a link between transmission of the disease and food. Restaurants that have implemented a mask policy are actually being proactive to protect the health of their employees and their customers. To help you better identify the restaurant’s that have implemented a required mask program at their restaurant, we have placed a mask icon next to the restaurant name on our list tab. If we missed one please let us know!
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