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Restaurants get creative with eating spaces; Are they safe?

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 4:37 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Al’s French Fry’s in South Burlington this week was the latest restaurant to unveil innovative dining space to comply with COVID requirements, but are these kinds of spaces safe?

Al’s is using heated greenhouses to allow for separation and ventilation for customers. Other restaurants are taking different approaches, like igloos. Bill Irwin with the Vermont Department of Health says the main goal of restaurants should be to provide adequate ventilation in smaller spaces.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: Is there a concern with these spaces of particles remaining in the air after people leave and before the next family comes in?

Bill Irwin: It’s useful to actually give some time for a space to air out. If it’s a small space, it will air out quickly if it’s got good forced flow of ventilation. If it’s really large, it could take some time. So, that’s why it’s nice to keep them relatively small, make sure you’re getting good air changes per hour. If you were to make it a large gathering place, it’s really just making it like another indoor space.

He recommends talking with your ventilation system provider about how to change the air out frequently and consider measuring the carbon dioxide in the air.

The health department also says the occupancy of those outdoor units counts towards your total headcount.

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