The Iowa Restaurant Association today applauds Governor Reynolds’ announcement to begin graduated openings of hospitality and other businesses in 77 counties across Iowa that have had a downward trend in COVID-19 positive cases (see proclamation language below). The Association was in contact with the Governor’s Office prior to the announcement and was able to provide input on the potential mitigation steps all restaurants can reasonably take in order to begin re-opening their dining rooms, in limited capacities, to their patrons on May 1, 2020.
“We’re anxious to welcome people back through our doors where we can,” said Jessica Dunker, President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “However, we understand this has to be a gradual re-opening. Customer and employee safety are our top concerns and we know many operators will want to do far more than simply comply with the social distancing and other mitigation requirements from the state. They will want to take optional steps that go above-and-beyond.”
To that end the Iowa Restaurant Association is launching a program called “The Iowa Hospitality Promise.” This “contract” between restaurants and the public seals the special relationship the industry has with its patrons by committing to take safety and sanitation steps that exceed any mandates. It also asks the public to commit to staying home and utilizing contactless delivery options when they are not feeling well or if they have an underlying health risk.
“This new normal places higher expectations on everyone,” said Dunker. “The hospitality industry is ready to keep its promise to Iowans and we’re confident our customers will do the same.”
Participating establishments will display The Iowa Hospitality Promise, so people know they are taking extra steps to keep the public safe during this recovery period. The program will launch on April 28, after the state provides the expected additional re-open guidance from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The Iowa Hospitality Promise
As participants in The Iowa Hospitality Promise, operators will pledge the following:
- Continue to be leaders in safe sanitation practices ensuring every location has a certified food protection (safety and sanitation) manager.
- Ensure all staff members are feeling healthy and symptom free prior to every shift.
- Make certain all indoor and outdoor seating options comply with the appropriate social distancing guidelines.
- Provide hand sanitizer upon entry and exit.
- Clean and sanitize all common areas regularly.
- Clean and sanitize all tables and chairs after EVERY use.
- Ensure place settings, utensils, menus, and condiments are single-use or are cleaned and sanitized after every use.
- Post The Iowa Hospitality Promise at our entrances so everyone understands the steps we must all take to keep our communities safe.
In return operators will ask the public make this promise to the hospitality industry:
- If you have been exposed to COVID-19 recently or have symptoms of COVID-19 (including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath), please help us keep everyone safe by using our contactless delivery options.
- If you have underlying heath conditions or are otherwise concerned about contracting COVID-19, please use our contactless pick-up and delivery options.
- If you have any questions about The Iowa Hospitality Promise, please ask for a manager who will be happy to assist you.
“Our patrons are more than just guests; they are our family, friends, and community members,” said Dunker. “We will do everything in our power to keep them, as well as our employees, safe and healthy.”