After months of weathering full and partial shutdowns, on February 1, 2021, resilient Michigan restaurants are cleared to resume indoor dining. Restaurant owners and staff are eager to escort their most loyal patrons inside — but given the tiered, fact-based approach to reopening, the dining experience won’t be quite like it was pre-pandemic, at least for now.
- Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with up to 100 people.
- Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table.
- Outdoor tents with four sides are permitted under these same rules.
- Bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m.
- Contact information must be collected from diners for contact tracing purposes.
While the above safety measures are required to open doors for indoor diners, restaurants can also opt to participate in the MI COVID-19 Safer Dining program. The program uses a science-based approach to take customer safety one step further, focusing on optimizing restaurant ventilation system performance.
“The voluntary MI COVID-19 Safer Dining program allows food service establishments to become certified by having their ventilation system inspected and submitting their inspection report to the state indicating they are optimizing airflow.”
Restaurants that choose to participate in the program “will work with a certified HVAC inspector who will recommend changes to air ventilation to improve circulation and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.”
Aside from the obvious peace of mind that airflow optimization can give staff, opting into this program can go a long way toward establishing trust with patrons. After restaurants are certified, they’ll receive a hard copy of the certification to display and will also be listed on the Michigan.gov/COVIDSaferDining website.
And as for funding?
“Funding is proposed for food service establishments to participate as part of the $10 million included in the recent supplemental budget request for restaurant supports administered by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.“
Keep an eye out for more details on the MI COVID-19 Safer Dining Program.
Watch the introductory webinar here.
Using industry standard equipment, TriMedia’s team of industrial hygienists can measure and evaluate the flow of air through your dining areas, kitchens, bars, and other areas of your restaurant. This scientific and engineering based approach can help you evaluate your HVAC investments and ensure that your staff and patrons are at a reduced risk of pathogenic exposure — and that your doors can stay open.
If you’re interested in ventilation and airflow evaluation, contact our industrial hygiene department by calling (906) 212-4055 or reaching out to our regional department heads.
Marquette area inquiries
Kathy Vermaat, P.E.
Detroit area inquiries
Jason Gizicki, CIH, CSP, MS, M.Eng.