5 On Your Side

New COVID-19 restaurant training expected to roll out next week

Posted May 15, 2020 2:56 p.m. EDT
Updated May 15, 2020 7:28 p.m. EDT

— After being closed for a while, now it's all about the takeout at Caffé Luna in downtown Raleigh.

"We were actually losing a lot of money, a tremendous amount of money just by not being open," said owner Parker Kennedy. "So instead of going bankrupt, we thought we'd try to serve the community."

Kennedy told 5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte, it's survival mode right now.

Push continues to reopen restaurants, salons, churches

To make money again, he says restaurant doors need to open, but also, people need to feel confident about eating out.

Kennedy says that's why his staff will take part in Count on Me NC, a new COVID-19-related training.

The training is the result of a partnership between the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, NC Department of Health and Human Service, Visit North Carolina and North Carolina State University.

"This is over and above the food safety and health protocols that restaurants already practice," said Lynn Minges, President & CEO of the NCRLA.

"The training will address things like safety protocols, cleaning protocols, how to accomplish social distancing, how to move tables apart, how to put on and take off a mask. If you think about it, if you just take a mask off and you put it on the countertop, then suddenly the countertop's contaminated," said Minges.

She says the training also addresses how to deliver food to a table "…and then sanitize or wash hands in between service to the next table. That's just very unfamiliar to the way that we normally operate."

Minges says the 30-minute online training video is followed by a test.

Restaurants that volunteer to participate and pass, get a Count on Me NC certificate to display.

"We want to do as much as we can to make sure that our customers and our staff are safe," said Kennedy. "We're dealing with a serious situation here. We wanna make sure everybody is doing what they're supposed to do."

Minges expects the program will roll out for restaurants next week.

Soon after, she says it will be available to any business or organization that's interested. She's already heard from churches.

There will eventually be a database where customers can search to find participating restaurants.

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