Not Just Curbside: Making Dining In Safe Again

By NoviSphere™ Staff

In the four months since we launched this series examining how to help people feel safe in public settings – starting with retail shopping, then moving on to schools and travel – there has been notable advancement in the rollout of vaccines. As of this writing, about 20% of the eligible U.S. population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, and states are increasingly lowering the age threshold to speed the process. Things are looking up, and opening up – including restaurants, another public venue that people are eager to see return to pre-COVID normal.

However, the fact remains that the coronavirus and other diseases can be spread via airborne transmission of pathogens, and packed restaurants would certainly enable this. What to do if you are unable, or choose not, to be vaccinated? Or if/when a new virus or variant emerges that threatens to create another global pandemic (which is highly likely, according to Infection Control Today)? It’s vital that measures be put into place in all of the aforementioned environments to mitigate the spread of infections by improving air quality.

Dine in, breathe easy

While some establishments have kept going over the last year on takeout/delivery orders and outside dining setups where possible, many have not survived. We’ve all observed this in our communities, which have, in turn, struggled to deal with the loss of revenue and jobs. How to keep diners safe so that at-capacity indoor dining can resume has been a paramount concern since the pandemic began.

Last July, Modern Restaurant Management discussed the importance of indoor air quality, recommending a multilayered approach that includes turning to the latest air-purification technology: “Scrubbing the air, so to speak, can ensure customers and employees aren’t breathing harmful pollutants in restaurants, which one ranking puts among the 10 worst public places for indoor air quality.” In a subsequent article, the publication advocated taking air quality into consideration when designing future restaurants, per recommendations developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Utilizing new and better systems and equipment, the author notes, will enhance ventilation and mitigate risk associated with airborne spread of disease.

So, is it safe to eat in restaurants? NoviSphere’s technology – current and in development – will help achieve these goals and enable diners and staff to work and linger in restaurants with confidence.

Eliminating pathogens is key

The NoviSphere PE 254 is the first step along the path to making it safe to eat in restaurants. The system combines germicidal 254nm ultraviolet light (UV-C) with proprietary baffling technology in a patented design that has been proven, through rigorous independent testing, to kill 99.99% of airborne viruses, germs and other pathogens, including the coronavirus. The fully sealed, low-maintenance unit can be safely installed in a variety of ways: hung on a wall or ceiling, mounted to a cart and positioned where needed, or inserted directly into an HVAC system. Running 24/7, each unit delivers uninterrupted pathogen eradication for rooms up to 13,000 cubic feet in volume. Installing multiple units will help ensure that all areas within a restaurant – dining room, bar, kitchen – are fully protected, providing occupants with clean, breathable air.

Looking ahead, later this year NoviSphere will announce technology ideally suited for building into new restaurants and other structures, allowing architects to implement rarified environments in their designs. As with the NoviSphere PE 254, these solutions will be customizable to desired specifications and manufactured using best-in-class materials and components, assuring the highest level of quality at optimal cost. We look forward to sharing the details with you in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the meantime, stay tuned for continued successes.