While the jury remains out (no clear evidence either way on the benefits), I for one believe this requirement should have come earlier. Surely, it is no coincidence that countries like Singapore, South Korea and even China use masks and have figures that reflect a reduced spread of COVID-19. And yes, while masks are uncomfortable, having just returned from Spain & Portugal my admiration for those working on the frontline in particular NHS staff, is even greater.

While countries like the USA, Brazil and until Friday 24th July England pontificate on the merits of wearing or not, this must be the right move for our hospitality industry. Our Spanish and Portuguese friends, both customers and staff observe such compliance although I am saddened that not all hotels, restaurants and bar staff in England are so forthcoming. If you believe the adage … “The customer is King” why wouldn’t you wear such coverings, even gloves, if it provides even greater comfort to a consumer? In previous years’ experience as a business consultant, I have learned that customer satisfaction is one of the key things to underpin return business and in turn drive profits. If a customer is perturbed by a flippant attitude to cross-contamination and infection of COVID-19 they are unlikely to return on the off-chance that things have improved. Once scorned a customer rarely returns to give a venue a second chance. However, if a customer is impressed time and time again, they will return, and they will tell their friends. Another consideration is the underlying message you convey to your customers by disregarding suggested healthy and safety measures around COVID-19. If your attitude is lackadaisical towards the risks of COVID-19, how can your customers trust your attitude to hygiene practices, allergen and intolerance management or anything else? 

This brings me back to training, coaching even mentoring and it starts from the top. Make sure your staff understand the reasons behind the routines and the effects or consequences of non-compliance.  Be over-zealous when sanitizing your hands, indeed turn it into a performance and smile throughout. Take a leaf out of the Pike Fish Market, Seattle but instead play with your sanitizers instead of throwing fish! Or you could channel the skills of flair bartending if it sparks your interest.

Trust me, you and your staff will see the value of the attention drawn to safe practices, as will your customer.

You never know if you get good enough an encore might ensue with the customary standing ovation.

Good luck.

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