Reflecting on the government’s view of hospitality as high-risk for coronavirus transmission, the state has introduced hefty fines for breaches and the threat of shutdown for re-offenders. The ‘new normal’ for bar and pub managers is a list of requirements, ranging from dedicated “hygiene safety marshalls” to a ban on groups larger than 10, and a rule that guests in one part of a venue cannot mingle with those in a separate area.
Fortunately, there is a comprehensive solution that can lighten the workload for businesses and keep staff and patrons safe in the complex hospitality environment. CoolGard, developed by Newcastle-based technology company Pulse, has been brought to market as a potential lifeline for hospitality and other kinds of businesses during the pandemic. It can not only monitor the key safety benchmarks of patron numbers, health status, contact details, and social distancing, but it allows managers to receive alerts and tap into information in real-time from multiple sites. The CoolGard user experience begins with a non-invasive check-in for patrons, taking seconds to perform an automatic temperature check, capture identity and contact details, and ask a few relevant questions about health and travel history.
Guests can use a no-touch tablet to scan details such as driver licences or other forms of ID to facilitate rapid contact tracing if necessary. The check-in and check-out functions log the patron’s arrival and departure times, and the AI facial recognition feature ensures staff and returning guests are met with a friendly greeting. Regular use of CoolGardby staff also helps prevent anyone from unwittingly coming to work with a high temperature that may be an early sign of a viral infection such as coronavirus or influenza. The NSW rules stipulate:
- A maximum of 10 people are permitted per booking or per table.
- Groups entering or remaining on the premises are also limited to 10, and alcohol can be consumed only by seated customers.
- A maximum of 300 people are allowed in the venue at any one time or one customer per 4 square metres, whichever is the lesser – the same restriction applies for parts of a venue considered “separate areas”.
- If staff provide food and drink services in a separate area, they must work only in that area and not allow persons to mingle across different separate areas.
- Venues with a capacity of more than 250 people must assign a staff member to serve as COVID-10 Safe Hygiene Marshall at all times. Smaller premises need to have a marshall on duty at peak times including lunch and dinner hours.
- The marshall must wear distinctive clothing (eg: shirt or badge) and be responsible for ensuring all aspects of the COVID-19 Safety Plan are being adhered to, including overseeing social distancing, cleaning and the accuracy of record keeping.
- All customers (unless only collecting takeaway) must sign in by providing accurate contact details (name and phone number or email address) and their time of entry. The COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal should ensure the accuracy and legibility of records.
- Paper sign-in is permitted, but hospitality venues must create a digital record of customer contact details within 24 hours and provide it immediately if requested.
- The use of QR code sign-in is strongly encouraged.