The sudden changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affected all parts of the restaurant industry. From fast food chains to fine dining establishments, restaurateurs have either closed or shifted entirely to a takeout and delivery model. However, when restaurants are finally able to open for dining again, what products will the foodservice industry lean on to maintain a heightened level of proper hygiene?
COVID-19 is not considered a foodborne gastrointestinal virus (like norovirus or hepatitis A that make people ill through contaminated food). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or spits. Although foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission, the fact that virus is thought to spread mainly from close contact by droplets, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.
The Mascare SG4 mask by Shield of Glory limits the user’s unconscious actions of touching their nose and mouth during their work hours. It is a sanitary mask that includes a white body frame, a screen unit supported by the chin of a user, with a transparent anti-bacterial shield (SGS test passed) formed to be inclined upward under the nose and mouth. Since the beginning of the product’s invention in 2009, it was designed to protect people’s sanitization from easily spreading viruses spread through saliva, mucus, and particles.
The origin of Shield of Glory’s Mascare SG4 came when its’ inventor oversaw a day in the life of a foodservice worker. The hygienic mask was a result of his discomfort seeing food handlers’ everyday activities like talking, coughing, and sneezing, and how it can spread saliva to food and food surfaces without being aware. In order to resolve and improve the environmental hygiene, the inventor came up with this transparent sanitary mask to solve the problems of wearing a more conventional mask. He designed it to fulfill the purpose of the sanitary mask for hygienically protecting others. As their US patent 8,375,949 states: the mask “blocks unsanitary substances provided by the respiratory organs from spreading to and contaminating the others or objects while exposing the mouth and nose of the user”.
The Mascare SG4 from Shield of Glory made an appearance at last month’s International Restaurant and Food Service Show at the Javits Center in New York Cit. Here is what some attendees had to say:
“The issues that are happening today, as this virus gets closer to home, people may not go out to eat as much as they have. That is going to really hurt restaurants. But if restaurant response can show the public that they are taking measures to protect themselves by using face masks [like Shield of Glory], it will help bring customers in knowing restaurants are taking serious measures to protect them.”
The hygienic mask response of Food Industry exhibitors and attendees that participated at the IRFSNY was very positive. There were many attendees that commented “It’s about time restaurants make solid actions”, and “It is perfect protection… especially for the food industry”.
There were some concerns from exhibitors about maybe the “inconvenience with people in looking” at the mask. However, the Mascare SG4’s transparent design makes users easy to move around and hard for people to notice from a distance. Health officials also mentioned that “customers might feel more secure to come into restaurants” with chefs and food servers wearing extra protection.
Even after the COVID-19 virus calms down, the restaurant industry must continue to take precautions. The safety and hygiene of every area of a restaurant must be addressed where people will interact with each other. The lessons learned from this pandemic should not be treated as a one-time happening. We must take protocols to prevent it from happening again in our future. Simply adding a safety guard on a line of protection would spotlight how the food industry’s perception of taking serious measures increased to protect their valued customers and partners.
To learn more about the Mascare SG4 mask by Shield of Glory, please visit their website.