Manila Bulletin


How the hospitalit­y industry is adapting to new standards of food safety before reopening


Illustrati­ons by ARIANA MARALIT In Contagion (2011), the movie’s ending scene chronicles the spillover event of a pandemic through a disturbing montage of a bat contaminat­ing a pigpen that delivers to a kitchen of a high-end casino in Macau, where we could later see a mix of foreigners playing, including

Gwyneth Paltrow’s character—America’s patient zero.

Sounds familiar? In the real setting, the spread of SARS-CoV could be blamed on the lack of food sanitation in the province of Wuhan, China, proving how food has a big impact on viral transmissi­on, or is even at the epicenter of concern for the birth of an outbreak.

This is why restaurant­s, hotels, and eateries are the last to re-operate public in-house services and gatherings in the gradual process of economic recovery. The sectors are very busy carefully laying out plans for effective food handling to ensure everyone’s safety as soon as they reopen doors to welcome guests and diners.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and Enderun Colleges clue us in on what the hospitalit­y industry and tourism-accredited establishm­ents are doing on their path to the “New Normal on Food Safety, Sanitation, and Hygiene” through a series of Zoom conference­s.

Here are a couple of points discussed about F&B safety. After all, restaurant­s are the only public place you’re allowed to take your mask off.

Their main goal is to restore your confidence.

When the Inter-Agency Task Force announced the partial resumption of dine-in services with 30-percent capacity under General Community Quarantine, various restaurant­s acfor commodated guests in various manners due to a weak circulatio­n of unified protocols, which could do more harm than good.

Restaurant­s should only be confident enough to serve food when their staff are well-trained and have memorized the new protocols by heart to not confuse incoming customers. Only one way to test this is by putting the staff into action along with an appointed Covid-19 compliance team, according to Cheong Yan See, chef and culinary head of Enderun Colleges.

“We will assess from a point of view of the guests during pre-check in order to develop the proper empathy to handle those who are going to come in,” says Chef See. “Once the simulation is done, then we are able to open our doors to welcome live customers in this case.”

Some hotels have not resumed food operations because they’re waiting local airlines to jumpstart leisure flights and assure a smooth flow of protocols across all tourism establishm­ents. “This will give us ample time to learn new guidelines and simulate the best practices,” See adds.

They’re looking at things from the medical perspectiv­e.

Reopening a food establishm­ent at this critical time may be hazardous, so it’s not enough to just streamline consumer operations. Operators have to Safety must be of utmost importance among all restaurant­s. After all, it’s the only public place you’re allowed to take your mask off.

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