Time Magazine Claims These Hong Kong Coronavirus F&B Customer Protection Measures May be Copied in the US
According to Time Magazine, what Hong Kong restaurant customer protection measures could US restaurants benefit from copying?
Hong Kong is a city renowned for its vibrant culinary scene. As one of Asia’s most prominent food hubs, restaurants represent a cultural way of life in Hong Kong. From small street stalls selling local favorites like har gau, siu mai and char siu bao to internationally-acclaimed triple-Michelin starred restaurants, the city’s F&B industry is alive and bustling despite current government measures that implement strict regulations on operating hours and patron numbers.
Indeed, Hong Kong even features on a CNBC article outlining the world’s top 10 most underrated global food deastinations.
That being said, perhaps one of the major reasons customers still flock to eateries despite the ongoing Coronavirus is because restaurants take plenty of measures to keep diners safe.
According to Time Magazine, many of these safety protocols, if adopted in the USA, could have a major positive impact on customer safety in restaurants and diners. That being said, let’s take a look at the top 5 Hong Kong restaurant customer safety protocols that US restaurants might adopt in the future.
1. Temperature Scan Machines
For the safety of staff and diners, the majority of restaurants in Hong Kong have started implementing temperature checks for incoming customers. There is a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to these checks and temperature machines have become a common sight in the front of Hong Kong restaurants, large and small.
As Time states, “restaurant staff are required to take patrons’ temperatures before they’re allowed to dine.” This measure is certainly a step in the right direction as anyone with a high temperature could put everyone around them at risk and could cause a restaurant to close down in the instance of a positive COVID-19 case.
2. Table Dividers and Distancing
As part of a recent government mandate, Hong Kong restaurants are currently only allowed to seat two people per table. In order to achieve this, restaurants can either “space tables about five feet apart, or place a partition between them.”
Some restaurants have opted to split tables up completely so that patrons are forced to sit in pairs while being distanced 5-feet from one another. Other restaurants have instead put up dividers between tables so that patrons can sit a little closer together but with a screen between pairs of people. Creative restaurants have even used “large images of artwork by famous artists like Monet to separate tables” according to Time.
By ensuring that customers maintain social distancing in restaurants, Hong Kong’s F&B industry can remain open since virus cases remain consistently low. This is a huge bonus considering that many other countries have seen full lockdowns with restaurants forced to shut completely.
3. Sanitize Tables After Every Meal
Hong Kong restaurant staff make sure to take cleanliness to a whole new level and to ensure that patrons are aware of this. One restaurant owner interviewed by Time said that his, "team members wash their hands in front of [customers], using our sanitizer bottles to sanitize tables when we’re setting [up].”
By cleaning their hands and sanitizing tables in front of customers before they’re seated, strict hygiene protocols are clearly adhered to. It also helps give off a positive and safe feeling to patrons who may be worried about the hygiene standards of restaurants.
4. Wear Masks
Walk the streets of Hong Kong and you’ll notice that literally everyone has a mask on. Not only is wearing a mask in public spaces a government mandate, but it is also taken seriously by restaurants. While patrons do not need to wear masks while eating, staff need to wear masks at all times. This is to ensure that food can be brought safely to tables without the additional risk of being contaminated along the way.
5. Customer Health Declaration Forms
Though this practice is not necessarily commonplace across restaurants in Hong Kong, a few eateries are making customers sign health declaration forms to ensure they “haven’t traveled outside of the city in the last 14 days.” Following through with these stringent measures ensures that undue risks are not taken, especially since inbound travelers are required to quarantine for between 14 and 21 days in Hong Kong, currently.