With coronavirus prevention policies such as masks, social distancing, and restrictions on how many people can be in your restaurant at one time, workers may be threatened or assaulted while trying to enforce these policies.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released guidelines on how to handle violent workplace situations that may arise due to COVID-19 restrictions. You can implement these strategies in your own restaurant to protect your employees and customers and create a safer space for everyone.
Offer Customers Options That Minimize Contact
Limit in-person contact by offering services such as curbside pickup and delivery. The less in-person contact there is, the less likely a violent situation could occur.
Advertise Social Distancing Policies
Whether it’s hanging up signs or advertising on your website, let customers know what COVID-19 policies you have in place, so customers are aware and know what to expect.
Create a Plan to Respond to Workplace Violence
Train your employees on how to respond to threats or violence and have a plan in place for how to assess and respond to violence and threats. Learn verbal and non-verbal cues that warn of a possible violent situation, including:
- speaking loudly
- clenched fists
- heavy breathing
- fixed stare
Also teach employees how to respond to violent situations. Lay out a plan for them to follow when a violent or threatening situation arises. Some things you can implement in your plan include:
- Not arguing with the customer
- Avoiding threatening gestures i.e. finger pointing
- Remaining aware and stand by coworkers experiencing a violent situation
- Not forcing customers who are upset or violent to follow coronavirus prevention policies
- Going to a safe area (preferably with a locked door and exits), if need be
- Reporting threats or acts of violence to a supervisor or manager
For more information, view the CDC’s guidelines.