Operations

Healthcare operators work to keep diners and employees safe amid COVID-19

The escalation of the coronavirus pandemic has caused foodservice departments to make some changes.
Photograph: Shutterstock

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, healthcare operators are implementing new measures to make sure their diners and employees stay safe

Senior living operations—especially those in the Seattle area, which has become one of the hardest-hit areas in the country—are on high alertand are taking steps to limit the amount of face-to-face interactions between diners and employees.

Era Living, a senior living community with eight locations around Seattle, is currently limiting outside visitors and has canceled dining room service at five of its locations. Meals are instead being delivered to its residents’ rooms. Era is also asking residents to avoid visiting grocery stores and to instead use grocery delivery services or have family members drop off groceries at the front desk. 

Hospitals have also been feeling the effects of the pandemic and are prepping for its impact down the line. 

“I do think it's going to be an issue,” Thomas Thaman, director of food and nutrition at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, said earlier this week. “One of my managers mentioned that she's already seen a couple of catering cancellations this morning, so it's kind of an ongoing process.” 

Thaman also noted its potential effect on staffing, saying: “I think we will see call-ins becoming more frequent, and more than likely those call-ins will probably not go against the employee. That’s what I'm predicting, because we're not going to sit there and put somebody's job on the line when they could be exposed or have been exposed to the coronavirus.”

Eskenazi employees are also now required to inform management if they’re planning on taking trips outside the country or are returning from abroad.  

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