MASS Design Group has released a guideline for restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to help these business reopen safely, viably, and vibrantly. Based on world health recommendations, the drafted protocols aim to keep both staff and customers safe, as well as facilitate operations.
At the heart of the public realm, restaurants need to promptly find balance between optimizing operations and keeping people safe. MASS Design Group, founded ten years ago in response to an epidemic disease, has been working on the frontlines of the world’s major health challenges. With no formal design guidelines established, MASS developed 6 specific strategies that help restaurants respond to the novel coronavirus.
According to the practice, “In the midst of this global coronavirus pandemic, when the very nature of public space has become both threatening and threatened, the future of the restaurant industry is brought into question. […] Restaurants play a pivotal role in our collective post-pandemic future, and to be able to return to them safely, they must be empowered to be active participants in the rebuilding of trust”.
Evaluate new food safety and sanitation protocols as spatial challenges.
If restaurants can successfully adapt the following clinical protocols to their spaces, they will serve as a model for other businesses working to re-open:
- Sequence spaces to limit droplet spread.
- Mitigate contagion via surfaces.
- Control for airborne infection.
- Rethink toilets and handwashing stations.
Examine your restaurant with flexible reconfiguration in mind.
As a baseline, each restaurant should designate exchange zones to control delivery, customer hand-off, don and doff procedures, ventilated storage and cooking, and disposal of contaminated materials.
Understand that the 6’ rule is not a solution inside restaurants.
Developing nuanced solutions to a variety of seating types and configurations will be critical to ensuring financial viability while keeping staff and customers safe.
Expand into the street and reclaim the restaurant’s role in the public realm.
Local governments and policymakers should enact rapid zoning amendments to protect our public spaces; lowering the barriers to restaurants expanding outdoor seating into parking lots and the public right-of-way, and creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists.
Design for trust.
Employees must be supported through safe, trusted, and clear working conditions. Guests may be dissuaded from entering dining spaces if they seem unsafe, uncomfortable, or undignified.
Finally, MASS adds 4 additional recommendations for optimum efficiency:
- Consider integrating a legible, obvious ventilation strategy that clearly demonstrates environmental safety.
- Individual lockable storage for employee’s valuables, electronics, and medications.
- Visible documentation of new protocols including PPE, temperature tests, publicly accessible handwashing stations, ordering and processing, and social distancing.
- Highly legible signage that directs and manages the flow of people, including floor and wall markings.
We invite you to check out ArchDaily's coverage related to COVID-19, read our tips and articles on Productivity When Working from Home and learn about technical recommendations for Healthy Design in your future projects. Also, remember to review the latest advice and information on COVID-19 from the World Health Organization (WHO) website.