Restaurants not already opened with reduced seating capacity probably will be opening with Gov. Ron DeSantis ordering the state into Phase 3 and allowing full capacity.

But there is a lot more to it than just opening the doors.

Let me share with you what is happening in the restaurants and what they have to go through to open today.

You should know the following agencies are involved in the process, local health departments, the Florida Restaurant Association and the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, the FDA just published a Covid-19 Food Safety Checklist. These are just some of the organizations offering guidelines and procedures that are being followed before reopening. Wow, that’s a lot of people making sure it is safe to eat out.

So, what are they doing and what does that mean to you and me? Many rules and procedures are followed every day. For example, the FDA requires the person in charge to have an up-to-date ServSafe Manager Certificate, which is the standard for sanitation in restaurants. Managers should provide ServSafe Food Handlers Training for all workers. Efforts are being made to upgrade technology so contactless payment systems, using mobile apps, are used.

Other requirements from the Covid-19 code prohibit any sick employees in the workplace, requires strict handwashing rules about how and when to wash hands, includes robust procedures and practices to clean and sanitize surfaces, requires discarding all food that is out of date, requires providing hand sanitizer for guests, and the list goes on and on, but it has one goal. To make restaurants safe to the public and employees.

I believe restaurants are trying very hard to make your visit safe and healthy. I think we, as guests, should also make the same effort before going out. Take your temperature before leaving the house. Stay home if you feel sick. Wash your hands a lot and wear a face mask. Please practice social distancing.

If we all work together, we can assure we will all get through this pandemic healthy and safe. What’s my recipe for today? I really don’t feel like cooking; it’s time to treat my wife and go out to eat. “Eve Ann, where is my facemask, and no, you can’t use that thermometer, I want the infrared one.” Be safe!

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or costa.magoulas@daytonastate.edu.

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