After months of uncertainty, the time has finally come for bars, pubs and restaurants to gradually reopen their businesses to the public.
Not a small challenge between meters away, interpretation of decrees and ordinances, reduced staff and continuous sanitization of the premises.
We have already made a general analysis of this delicate moment in the Horeca sector with Gabriele Iori, Marketing and Communication Manager of Techfood , and in these weeks we will proceed with a series of vertical insights on the various aspects that the post-lockdown and coexistence with the virus entail.
Let's start with the issue of safety for workers and customers, at the top of every manager's agenda, and with that of food safety , which was also called into question during the Covid19 emergency.
To clarify some points and try to better interpret this transition phase, we interviewed two professionals who deal with control plans and HACCP certifications, and we discovered that sanitizing the premises is just the tip of the iceberg.
Annalisa Silvanini , graduated in Food Technology, deals with control plans and consultancy as a daughter of art. From his father Gianni, former AUSL hygiene inspector and consultant for Confesercenti, he in fact inherited the passion for this work and many contacts.
How are these Phase 2 weeks going?
These are days of fire! We receive many calls from the managers, and we have greatly increased our visits to clubs, artisan production companies, refreshment areas at sports centers, etc.
This is because although the national and regional guidelines have come out, there are some ambiguities and a lot of room for interpretation.
What are the biggest difficulties?
First of all, that of not having certainty and having to disentangle the different interpretations and the ways in which these are applied by the production activities office, or by the police command.
Clearly it adds to the economic difficulties : in addition to the reduced seats, it seems to me that in general people still prefer to avoid going to clubs. And there are extra expenses for the managers, compared to lower collections.
Are these extra expenses caused by the sanitization of the premises?
There is also a lot of chaos here.
From a hygienic-sanitary point of view, not much has changed, only the frequency has increased .
As usual, when new legislation comes out, there are those who take advantage of it, the guidelines say that easy-to-find products are enough and that sanitization can be carried out independently, it is not mandatory to contact a company and have a certification to show .
Of course, we need to organize ourselves so that this is carried out correctly and with reduced staff it may not be easy.
What advice would you feel like giving to managers?
To be patient. In the next 10-15 days the picture will become clearer , at the moment the AUSL tries to stay updated but it is only a link in the chain that includes public bodies, trade associations and other subjects.
At this time, it is better to try to contain costs and not to risk investments of which you are not sure, even if the market is pressing a lot.
A good weighted investment could instead prove to be the trump card for the restart.
A machine like the Rondò Unika , for example, allows you to prepare sweet and savory crêpes with a food cost of just €0.39, allowing you to expand the offer with excellent margins.
We also spoke with Marco Valerio Francone , biologist and owner of Mv Consulting , which has been working for years with certification and training bodies.
How are these Phase 2 weeks going?
Our work has never suffered a decline, and now we are seeing sectorisation rather than a peak.
In fact, at the moment there is more talk of occupational safety than of food safety.
And does the Covid19 emergency also concern food safety?
In terms of transmission risk, at the food level it is rather low: neither food nor transport materials are environments that facilitate its development.
The major concerns concern indirect contamination at the sanitation level.
And how can this risk be eradicated?
First of all with prevention. And not only by respecting the distance and introducing barriers and screens in the room: hygiene and staff training are essential.
Secondly, it is better to prefer cooked foods: at high temperatures the viral load is further reduced.
Have the special measures to avoid the spread of the virus affected the other procedures?
Let's say that everything seems to have taken a back seat, and that local sanitization is replaced by regular sanitation.
However, these procedures do not exclude other measures that must always be taken , and which make it possible to eradicate other enemies of food safety such as salmonella.
Alcohol and sodium hypochlorite-based products prove to be effective for the Covid19 emergency, but let's not forget everything else.
So is this your advice to managers?
It is certainly a first tip.
The moment is not easy, we are understaffed and by reducing the staff on duty it is important to organize ourselves to constantly sanitize and sanitize the various surfaces.
I would therefore advise managers to check the status of staff training and review the self-monitoring manual, as well as the various DPCMs. Otherwise we reduce the contagion but we risk sending clients to the hospital for other reasons!
I also feel like debunking the safety of disposable items: if the object is washed at high temperatures and with the right products, it can be considered absolutely sanitized.
Finally, I advise you to be careful of the risks of fraud, which in times like these increase in the distribution and production chain. Take some time to check suppliers and product sheets.
We remind you that the Istituto Superiore della Sanità has made available a specific Guideline which provides the main operational indications in order to guarantee the local sanitization and hygiene of food and materials in contact with food during production and marketing activities.
And if you are looking for a solution for your business that reduces both the work space and the need for personnel, take a look at our benchtop ovens without extractor hood .