The hospitality industry has had to rethink how to protect their customers while keeping their doors open during the pandemic. As mask mandates and have eased, people are eager to get back to doing the things they enjoyed before – like gathering with friends, family and colleagues at restaurants.
But we’ve learned a lot during the pandemic about how airborne pathogens circulate in indoor spaces. We know that an HVAC system could potentially help spread diseases like COVID-19, colds, the flu or even allergy causing dust and other airborne contaminants. But the good news is that you can use your HVAC to help combat this spread.
As we do away with masks and plexiglass dividers, you can still provide a level of protection by cleaning and disinfecting the air your patrons and staff breathe inside your restaurant. Investing in air purification for your restaurant can actually have more benefits than just preventing disease.
Restaurant kitchens use fume hoods to remove cooking fumes and odors from the kitchen, but this isn’t always enough. You can further remove odors that might flow into the restaurant itself through the use of newer technologies like needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI). These products purify indoor air by eliminating airborne particulates, odors and pathogens.
Fumes, odors and smoke can all be annoying and harmful to patrons and employees. NPBI creates and releases ions that clean the air using your existing HVAC system as the delivery method. Fresh air in your reestaurant will ultimately reduce complaints and increae customer loyalty.
vividly remember one of the first graphics to come out at the start of the pandemic showed the air circulation in a restaurant and how easily airborne viruses can be transmitted when there is no ventilation or restaurant air purifier in place. Diners are often seated near other guests and can’t wear masks while eating and drinking. Your staff is vulnerable too, and when employees are out sick, your business suffers.
Harness the power of your existing HVAC system to protect your customers and staff. Your indoor dining patrons will feel safer knowing you’ve taken protective measures and improving air quality cuts down on sickness and boosts productivity. Optional UV light solutions can also target specific areas where contact is close, for example in lobby areas where people gather by the reception desk or the kitchen where social distancing may not be possible.
The same air filtration systems that remove odors can also be brought to bear against dust, dander, and other smaller particles that cause people’s allergies to flare up. We’ve all been to that restaurant during the day where you wonder the last time anyone did any dusting!
Here’s the yucky part – dust is often created from dirt, skin cells, or fabric fibers, but could be more or less anything that could dry and flake off. Rugs, upholstered furniture and smoke from the kitchen all contribute to the dust load in your dining room. Ionization technology delivered through the HVAC system can help to eliminate airborne particles from the air. When these ions disperse throughout a space, they seek out and form bonds with particles in the air. This creates a snowball effect in which particles begin to cluster together. The larger a cluster of particles becomes, the easier it is for your purification system to filter it out of the air.
Mold spores typically enter an air duct system any time steady amounts of water or condensation are present in the vents. If an air conditioning unit is infected with a strain of mold, oftentimes it will spread from the air conditioning unit throughout the air duct system and into the air that your staff and patrons breathe. UV light has long been recognized as an effective way to clean air in hospital settings. Since the pandemic, it is increasingly being deployed in more commercial settings like offices, restaurants and schools.
Add a layer of protection for staff and patrons by installing UV lighting within your HVAC unit. You can meet air-stream kill rates of organisms, including mold, up to 99%.
Keeping your staff healthy and at work has got to be a key priority to many restaurants working to stay open. No one wants to have to close their restaurant due to staffing shortages. Improving indoor air quality to minimize the spread of infectious viruses and eliminate odors, dust and other allergens is an easy decision for many restaurant owners.
Portable air purifiers, one of the most frequently deployed air cleaning technologies, can seriously add to noise pollution in an already busy and loud restaurant. Yet turning the stand alone units down or off reduces or eliminates the impact they can have on airborne pathogens and particles. Using your HVAC unit as the delivery method helps to eliminate this issue while helping to keep patrons and staff healthy.
When you have an air filtration system in place, it makes everyone safer. Advertise your investment in your staff and patrons on your menu, website and on social media. We all like to know that the places we love to dine in with family and friends are taking the extra steps to keep all of us healthy.
n today’s world, it’s never been more important to take every precaution when it comes to cleanliness and health. Provide cleaner air in your dining room and kitchen with a restaurant air filtration system. Make it your top priority top to protect your restaurant’s patrons and staff from airborne pathogens, odors and viruses. At General and Mechanical Services, we specialize in HVAC and Indoor Air Quality. Our team can outfit your HVAC with air purification solutions like far-UVC and bipolar ionization technology, depending on the needs of your business.
To learn more about this topic or our services, contact GMS today!
Greg Lilly is a Johns Hopkins University graduate with over 30 years of experience in mechanical services focused on providing energy efficient solutions and strategies within facilities, central plants and data centers.