Restaurants have learned the wrong epidemic lessons

If you want a sign that the Americans have dealt with the epidemic, you can buzz around for a vote. As such, it suggests that 70 percent of the country thinks it’s time to “continue our life.” Or this, where more people say they have been burned by COVID-19. Or it. Or it. But really, here’s what you need to do: Visit your favorite restaurant.

Yes, the coronavirus is still killing about 2,000 people every day and another variant is another question When Than If But the sigh of relief after Omicron has been a godsend for the country’s troubled bars and restaurants. By some means, Americans are now more comfortable eating out than at any other time since March 2020. At different times in the last two weeks, opentable conservation has even surpassed pre-epidemic levels. Chase Panisse, perhaps the most famous fine-dining spot in the country, in Berkeley, California, announced last week that it would finally reopen its dining room after a two-year hiatus. At the same time, blue cities, such as New York and Chicago, are among the last holdouts for widespread security restrictions, even eliminating the need for their vaccines for food.

All of this makes the present a moment of significant change for the restaurant. Outside of just struggling to survive, many spots may actually begin to prepare for the future and consider what kind of COVID arrangements and spar-of-the-moment tweaks should stick around for the long haul. Overall, the restaurant business seems to have learned some lessons from all these months of epidemic life. But the problem is that many of these lessons are correctly incorrect.

The paradox of eating out during an epidemic is that everything that makes indoor dining fun is risky. Linse Marr, an environmental engineer at Virginia Tech, outlined the challenges for me: “People can’t be masked,” he said. “They have been sitting for a long time. It’s crowded. Everyone goes there to talk. ” All this splashing, laughing and sneezing whips the aerosolized particles of the virus that may be in the air – turning restaurants into coveted hotspots.

For some time, we have known that improving some simple air quality is the best way to reduce some of the risks. Under the general building code, restaurants have the same indoor-air standard as other buildings — kitchens have more exhaust hoods to handle odors and smoke. These codes are not designed with viruses in mind and, however, are seldom monitored to ensure that HVAC systems work as advertised. An AC unit at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, shot the virus while sitting among diners. 15 feet Separate.

Joseph Allen, director of the Harvard Healthy Buildings program, told me that in a perfect world, all restaurants would receive regular tune-ups to ensure that their HVAC systems were working properly to exchange, thin and filter the air. After that, “you want to maximize the amount of outside air,” Allen said. Some doors and windows help open, but the best game is to keep your HVAC setup pump in even more fresh air while a filter (ideally rated MERV-13 or better!) Removes a lot of scary particles.

In some cases, HVAC upgrades are expensive, logically difficult, or simply time consuming. Clive Samuels, president of CoolSys Energy Design, an HVAC company, told me that a complete ventilation change that would be ideal for a restaurant could cost up to a few thousand dollars, even before you have caused high energy costs. But many restaurants don’t need a complete overhaul to make a difference, Allen said. Outside of small-sized routine tune-ups, restaurants can spot their place with portable HEPA filters, which can retail for less than 100. William Bahanfleth, an architectural engineer from Penn State, “like a focal point system,” he told me. Meanwhile, new restaurants could design their space with ventilation in mind as they did before the epidemic. Most restaurants have only one place on the ceiling where the air circulates, but creating more returns and exits will help stop the bad air from spreading around. In the larger dining room, a matrix of virus-killing UV light can be hung from the ceiling, Bahanflath says, to clean up any remaining stale air. (She has one in her office in Penn State.)

None of these changes will make a restaurant completely epidemic-proof. If you are stuck in a bar and have to crawl two feet away with your friend, no level of ventilation can get the virus out of your mouth before you have a chance to do any harm. But a rolling of indoor-air change could “greatly reduce infection,” Allen said. “You’re eliminating the possibility of over-expanding events: if you have good ventilation, a person in the corner of your restaurant will not be able to infect anyone on the other side of the house.”

Plenty of engineers and public health experts have been shouting about this for years, because a well-ventilated space is not only conducive to the purpose of COVID; It can cause other respiratory illnesses such as the flu, and possibly even E. coli. It can also reduce infections from E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Unfortunately, restaurants, like many other American establishments, do not seem to be moving at all on a meaningful scale. “There’s been a lot of discussion and a lot of work,” Samuels said. Mike Teeth, executive vice president of Sunlife, a company that helps New England restaurants improve their ventilation, was only slightly more optimistic. He estimates that the percentage of businesses in the region that have used air purifiers is somewhere between “low double digits”.

Exceptions, of course, exist, especially in areas prone to epidemics that are full of left-leaning people. A coffee chain with a $ 17 “rainbow bowl” at Bluestone Lane has installed antiseptic UV lamps in its store, while every outdoor-dining dome at Market Steer Steakhouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico has portable HEPA filters. A restaurant on the California coast can run for America’s best ventilation restaurant: it has a modified HVAC system, 10 permanent HEPA purifiers and 18 tabletop air cleaners. But overall, restaurants across the country are largely stuck with epidemic changes that are meaningless or even counterproductive.

In terms of benefits, in terms of public health, takeouts and deliveries are now so large that even $ 30-per-entry joints are offering these options, and some new restaurants are being created. Planned Around them, David Hanks, a restaurant-industry analyst at Farm Technomic, told me. “You can see that a lot of restaurants are setting up takeout windows or dedicated areas where there are more non-stop ways to pick up a delivery driver or a consumer,” he said. Less helpful: You’ll still find Plexiglass snacking in the dining room, even though it’s active Harmful Ventilation efforts. Instead of air purifiers, we have hygiene theaters: some old cleaning practices from the epidemic Purell-your-mail episode are still gone, Henkes said. The National Restaurant Association’s latest operating guide for business, the industry lobbying group, says a lot about ventilation, but it also advises sticking to “communicationless payment options” and “touchless hand-sanitizing solutions.”

In the long run, what seems to be a long-term experience is the bottom line for restaurant owners, rather than the security of the actual dining experience. Expect to find fewer menu items, higher prices, and significantly less chefs, hosts and waiters. It seems that epidemic measures aimed at reducing interaction between customers and employees can be used to reduce costs, not because of the epidemic. According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, QR-code menus may not save you from COVID, but (sorry!) They are here to stay. If everyone wants ricotta toast, restaurant owners can now raise prices in real time and delete the item from the online menu when it’s all over. At fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, you’ll find many more touch-screen kiosks to take your orders and a push to order in an app. “The once ‘high touch’ industry is moving to ‘high technology’ with a lot of employee and customer communication,” Peter Niehem, a restaurant consultant, said in an email.

Of course, restaurants are turning “safety” measures into cost-savers: after all, it’s an industry that lost 90,000 businesses to the epidemic, while many more are still trying to make up for their losses. Restaurants operate at normal razor-thin profit margins, so they are designed to go black instead of re-wholesale. A small Ma-O-Pop 10 tabletop air purifier may be able to carry, for sure, but for the most part there is no incentive to invest in a longer-term defense system beyond the mandatory or profitable ones. Stephanie Robson, an Emeritus Colonel professor who studies the restaurant industry, told me that the biggest lesson of the epidemic for restaurants is to be “lean”. So far, the restaurants seem to be doing too much.

Necessity is the mother of innovation, and the epidemic has brought valuable changes to the garden business. But getting back to what is now “normal” has not improved much, which would make restaurants safer বিরুদ্ধে against the inevitable subsequent Kovid variant, against future viruses that could hit the line against everything. Restaurants can make better decisions, but so can the rest of us. At every turn, Americans have failed to understand how important indoor air is to this epidemic. HEPA filters will already be in every restaurant if customers really want it, or the government if they need it. Samuels, president of HVAC-Company, said: “National codes require you to have a HEPA filter, which is normal business unless you are instructed to make these changes.

The faster we get out of the crisis phase of Covid, the less hungry restaurants — and grocery stores, offices, convention centers, and all other indoor spaces লিক need to make fundamental changes to help keep people from getting sick. Sunlife’s Teeth says businesses are already putting ventilation upgrades in the “back burner” and now Omicron seems to be fading. So the cycle will start anew: at some point, the virus will get worse and the country will be unprepared for it again. If there is ever a time to show that America has learned something from its long battle with the epidemic, it will be now.

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