“Re-opening the economy” is an exciting thing to write but a tricky thing (huge understatement) to actually implement safely and effectively. Judging by how this has gone in other countries, pessimism may be in order. Our governing bodies have mostly used these shutdown months to craft a risk mitigation plan consisting of: “OK, time to open back up now! Good luck!” But re-opening we are, so let’s gather and share as many ideas as we can to try and do this as best as possible for our small businesses and concerned customers.
New Realm Brewing CEO and Co-Founder Carey Falcone crafted this note to its customers and community about its prep work, precautions and general re-opening plan at this stage. I found it instructive and worth sharing:
Since closing our Atlanta restaurant, we’ve been working as hard as possible to be prepared for a safe and responsible re-opening. In considering when and how to open, we set the following goals for ourselves:
- Be thoughtful and as informed as possible when evaluating re-opening.
- Create the safest possible environment for our community of employees, guests and vendors.
- Set the standard for operating a facility like ours under these conditions.
- Meet and, where appropriate for our business, exceed all local, state and federal guidelines and industry benchmarks.
We have spent the past eight weeks preparing as a team to re-open New Realm Atlanta. Our preparations have included exhaustive best practice reviews, relying on inputs from across our industry and our business partners. Based on those reviews, we’ve undertaken the following steps related to our Atlanta facility and operations:
- Provided extensive operational safety training to service, sanitization, and security staff.
- Front of house, back of house and operations teams have deep cleaned and sanitized the facility.
- Developed enhanced standardized procedures in an effort to increase our focus on touch less processes and sanitation protocols.
- Implemented guidelines that ensure all employees wear masks and rubber gloves.
- Implemented a process to temperature check all employees and all guests upon arrival.
- Developed a comprehensive signage plan which provides clear direction to our guests to avoid unnecessary or unsafe contact in and around our facility.
- Developed a new ordering process to ensure proper social distancing and limited touch points.
- Spaced tables farther apart than the recommended guidelines and limiting groups to 6 or fewer guests per table.
- Developed bathroom guidelines focused on sanitation and distancing, and installed foot openers on all the guest bathroom doors.
- Added full time sanitation specialists who will actively clean and sanitize all touchable surfaces on a frequent schedule.
- Installed hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility for guests to use. New Realm hand sanitizer has also been stocked in our kitchen, behind bars and at each point of sale and service station.
While focusing on best practices for operations, we also continued evaluating a timeline for a potential re-opening. Based on this review, our current operational plan is to:
- Continue to keep all interior restaurant operations closed.
- Continue to operate our to-go program, as well as participating in The Atlanta Family Meals program which supports over 500 service professionals in need on a daily basis.
- On Thursday, May 7, move forward with a hybrid re-opening approach that supplements our to-go program by providing outdoor seating and service on the rooftop, beer garden and the dock only.
We believe we can open our outdoor spaces with protective protocols designed to provide a safe environment for our guests and staff during the current circumstances. Consistent with our mission statement, this is an opportunity to provide service to our community and inspire moments of happiness during a difficult time.