Best Practices for COVID Protocols at Your Brewery

Much like other areas of business practices, craft breweries strive to be ahead of the curve in making sure both patrons and staff are safe.

Brewer reached out to breweries asking to share some daily practices that have been implemented since the pandemic began to help keep staff healthy​

Grant S​m​ith ​from Ecliptic​ Brewing noted that there are the super obvious ones like masks are now standard PPE and social distancing is expected, but the Portland, Oregon brewery goes further.

“We also now have a symptom checker that prompts employees to answer a series of questions when they clock-in,” he said. “This keeps the threat of COVID-19 and its spread at the forefront of the team’s mind, as well as reminds them not to come in if they have any symptoms.

“We also sanitize commonly touched surfaces like doors, controls on forklifts, HMIs on equipment, and pallet jacks.”

Smith notes that fortunately Ecliptic hasn’t had anyone test positive for COVID, and those who report symptoms have been sent home.

New Realm​ co-founder Bob​ Powers said that the Georgia and Virginia properties try to set the standard, not just follow local and state mandates.​

​”When COVID hit initially, we shut down before it was required and opened up later than the state/locality allowed​,” he explained.​ “We always approach these situations with the perspective of our New Realm family and our customers, what is best for them, and what would we want to see if we had family involved.​”

Powers said that they test 50% of the staff weekly (every employee is COVID tested every other week) with less than a 24-hour turnaround time allowing them to ensure the staff is COVID free. All staff members must have their temperature checked upon arrival every day as well.

“Anyone who has COVID symptoms is not allowed to enter the building and sent home,” Powers said. “We ask that all employees self-assess and stay home if that is the case. If they do come to work and have a fever, they are sent home immediately.

“If someone tests positive during our weekly COVID testing, or have tested positive elsewhere, we require that person to isolate for a minimum of two weeks. Our weekly testing has done a nice job keeping everyone safe and healthy.”

Some of the protocols ​New Realm still has in place are:

  • ​Enhanced guidelines as it relates to hand hygiene, glove use, cleaning and sanitizing of ​the kitchen, brewery​,​ and restaurant.
  • All employees are required to wear face masks and gloves and follow safety protocols at all times.
  • ​Additional team members continually clean and sanitize during hours of operation to ensure ​the facilities are safe and clean. ​”​These additional team members work to ensure that everything from our salt and pepper shakers to our door handles will uphold our safety standards​,” Powers said.​
  • ​New Realm requires team members to stay home if they are feeling ill or have symptoms of illness.
  • ​Instituting a process among employees to limit skin-to-skin contact with others as much as possible.
  • ​A​dd​ing​ hand sanitizer stations through the facility and foot openers to all bathroom doors.
  • ​Touchless drink and food menus
  • ​Limiting access to brewing areas to employees only and canceling all tours into those areas​.​

​In a note to customers, New Realm shared this early in the pandemic and has stuck to those guidelines.​

New Realm Guests, Community, and Friends:

Since closing our Atlanta restaurant on March 20, we’ve been working as hard as possible to be prepared for a safe and responsible re-opening. In considering when and how to open, we set the following goals for ourselves:

  • Be thoughtful and well informed when evaluating re-opening.
  • Create the safest possible environment for our community of employees, guests, and vendors.
  • Set the standard for operating a facility like ours under these conditions.
  • Meet and, where appropriate for our business, exceed all local, state, and federal guidelines and industry benchmarks.

We believe we can open our outdoor spaces with protective protocols designed to provide a safe environment for our guests and staff during the current circumstances. Consistent with our mission statement, this is an opportunity to provide service to our community and inspire moments of happiness during a difficult time. To date, we’ve undertaken the following steps related to our Atlanta facility and operations:

  • Provided extensive operational safety training to service, sanitization, and security staff.
  • Front of house, back of house, and operations teams have deep cleaned and sanitized the facility.
  • Developed enhanced standardized procedures in an effort to increase our focus on touchless processes and sanitation protocols.
  • Implemented guidelines that ensure all employees wear masks and rubber gloves.
  • Implemented a process to temperature check all employees and all guests upon arrival.
  • Developed a comprehensive signage plan designed to provide clear direction to our guests to avoid unnecessary or unsafe contact in and around our facility.
  • Developed a new ordering process designed to ensure proper social distancing and limited touchpoints.
  • Spaced tables farther apart than the recommended guidelines and limiting groups to 6 or fewer guests per table.
  • Developed bathroom guidelines focused on sanitation and distancing, and installed foot openers on all the guest bathroom doors.
  • Added full-time sanitation specialists who will actively clean and sanitize all touchable surfaces on a frequent schedule.
  • Installed hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility for guests to use. New Realm hand sanitizer has also been stocked in our kitchen, behind bars, and at each point of sale and service station.

We are very proud of the entire New Realm Family. We have found a way to keep our staff employed, pull together as a team, and remain true to our core values. We will continue to monitor the situation and change plans as necessary.

Thank you very much and please stay well,

Carey Falcone

Co-Founder and CEO


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