The United States restaurant industry is forecasted to lose up to $225 billion during the global pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Thousands of establishments around the country closed in mid-March, causing 8 million industry workers to enter the unemployment pool. Industry experts predict between 75% of independent restaurants may never recover as operations historically succeed on tight margins.
To combat staggering losses due to shelter-at-home and social distancing mandates across the country, many restaurants have chosen to operate on a carryout only model with a skeleton crew of employees. OSHA now has issued industry-specific guidelines to protect these workers.
The agency states that it "is committed to protecting the health and safety of America’s workers and workplaces during these unprecedented times."
The alert recommends the following seven steps to reduce maintain physical distance:
- Reserve parking spaces near the front door for curbside pickup only.
- Avoid direct hand-off, when possible.
- Display a door or sidewalk sign with the services available (e.g., take-out, curbside), instructions for pickup, and hours of operation.
- Practice sensible social distancing by maintaining 6 feet between co-workers and customers. Mark 6-ft. distances with floor tape in pickup lines, encourage customers to pay ahead of time by phone or online, temporarily move workstations to create more distance and install plexiglass partitions, if feasible.
- Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus
- Provide a place to wash hands and alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.