The date has finally been officially been announced for you to open your doors and welcome back patrons. After clocking up the longest period of time being locked down worldwide, the residents of Melbourne and Regional Victoria are absolutely buzzing with excitement, although after living under such extreme restriction for so long, there is no doubt going to be an after effect which will leave many people feeling somewhat cautious. Not only will there be regulated laws in place for all to follow to ensure a safe and conscious way forward, but also the expectation of practical considerations required from the businesses welcoming back their customers.
Theres no denying the fact that outdoor dining is the new normal moving forward in hospitality and seated dining. Look no further than the government roadmaps to see that density limits are more than double the allocated capacity when it comes to outdoor dining than that of indoor seated dining.
Providing an open air setting for your patrons, gives them the option to choose for themselves which setting they would feel safest in, and shows that you are onboard with implementing a low risk environment. Indoor socializing, where the airflow is more limited is always going to be of a higher risk.
Accommodating your patrons outdoors, with comfortably spaced seating can be as easy as setting up some picnic tables, installing a custom built parklet, expanding your footpath trading or even renovating your outdoor dining space to include weather coverage such a pergola.
Ensuring that your business and staff are adhering to the specific industry requirements set out in the COVIDsafe plan prior to welcoming customers into the premises is going to be vital in reducing the risks and spread of COVID19. Practices like ensuring both front and back of house staff are seen to be correctly wearing face masks and practicing good hygiene is a small but important step to showing patrons that the health and safety of everyone in attendance at your venue is of concern. Providing easily accessible hand sanitizer to patrons is also strongly encouraged.
Another simple measure is to establish a good routine of table cleanliness. Allowing your patrons to visibly witness a thorough clean of the table setting between sittings is going to provide confidence and ease, in both outdoor and indoor environments.
Keeping electronic records of any and all visitors to your premises is a regulated requirement of having your business open to the public. Not only does this allow for contact tracing to commence in the event of an exposure but provides your customers with the confidence that if they were present during the time of exposure, they will be notified and have the knowledge to take appropriate steps from that point. Having the relevant signage displayed, including QR codes for record keeping, capacity limits for indoors and outdoors, and the enforcement of masks is not only the law, but shows your patrons that their safety is front of mind while they are in attendance at your venue, and goes a long way to provide them with the confidence to then return again and again.
Staying within the rules and implementing a few crucial health and safety processes will benefit your business in the long run, see patron return, and reduce the risk of closure due to exposure.
We are all SO ready to visit all the amazing hospitality venues this state has to offer!