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IMPORTANT Restaurant Coronavirus Updates

March 3, 2020

A Note from the Desk of RAMW's President & CEO, Kathy E. Hollinger

As of March 2, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington, DC or the metro region. We are in constant conversation with relevant government agencies, lodging and hospitality partners and the National Restaurant Association to ensure we have the most up to date information, to then share a plan of action with our members and the restaurant community. 

What You Should Focus On Right Now
Our goal is to provide you with information and tools that might assist with your planning and preparedness efforts, in order to protect your team and customers. We know you are getting bombarded with a ton of information from different sources and we want to share information that will help you navigate keeping your team and customers safe.  

Restaurants are community hubs, which is why is it critical appropriate precautions are taken. ServSafe has put together helpful guidelines that should be followed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. At this time, the best thing you can do is follow the food safety plans you already have in place that are required by the Department of Health. 

Click here for the Coronavirus Fact Sheet provided by ServSafe.

Restaurant Prevention Guidelines
Basic tactics will go a long way in preventing the spread of coronavirus. 

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol when water and soap are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Send home employee if they are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that have been touched (counters, doorknobs, toilets, phones, etc.).
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue, then immediately dispose of the tissue and wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • It is currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Keeping Employees Safe: What to do if an employee shows flu-like symptoms

  • It is highly recommended that any employees who are showing flu-like symptoms should be excluded from the operation until they are symptom free.

Keeping Your Customers Safe:

  • Provide the customer with additional napkins or tissues to use when they cough or sneeze.
  • Make sure alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available for customers to use.
  • Be sure to clean and sanitize any objects or surfaces that may have been touched

Spread of Coronavirus
How COVID-19 is thought to spread between people:

  • The virus primarily spreads via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
  • It spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet).

Symptoms of Coronavirus 
Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

We will continue to monitor this evolving situation. As we get new information, we will be sure to share it with all of you. In the meantime, as you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call our office at (202) 331-5990. We have included below links to additional resources provided by various partners for your review and dissemination as needed.  

Additional Restaurant Resources
Handwashing 101 
Cleaning vs. Sanitizing 
DC Department of Health
Maryland Department of Health
Virginia Department of Health
Ecolab: Understanding Coronavirus