Safe Restaurant campaign: Prague City Hall and culinary groups join forces

The city along with restaurants and brewers seek to create safe conditions to keep eateries open.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 09.12.2020 12:15 (updated on 09.12.2020)

Prague City Hall along with two culinary associations have launched the Safe Restaurant initiative to encourage best practices from both restaurant operators and guests.

The campaign aims to unify hygiene rules in for culinary establishments. It relies on a concept called 3R+S for the Czech initials of the main steps: face masks (roušky), hands (ruce), spacing (rozestupy), tables (stoly), glasses (sklo) and groups (skupiny).

The rules are:

  • Face masks: Always wear them when you're not at the table.
  • Hands: Use hand disinfectant on arrival.
  • Spacing: Adjust the distance between the tables to at least 1.5 meters.
  • Tables: Disinfect the tables every time for new guests, and other equipment regularly.
  • Glasses: Thoroughly wash glasses and regularly clean equipment.
  • Groups: The number of seats at one table should be limited, in accordance with applicable regulations.

At the restaurant Červený Jelen, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) met Martina Ferencová, executive director of the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses (ČSPS), and Luboš Kastner, a board member of the of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts (AMSP ČR). They discussed the Safe Restaurant program as well as the national guidelines.

They agreed that Prague, which helped to downgrade the whole country to PES 3 on the five-level pandemic scale, should continue to be an example and support the responsible behavior of staff and guests, not only in culinary facilities.

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Mitigating the pandemic measures to level 3 has allowed at least a partial return of social and neighborhood life to cities, although still with a number of restrictions. Currently, however, the situation is deteriorating again and there is a risk of an early return to a higher level, which would mean a reduction or closure of culinary facilities.

The mayor together with the director of ČSPS and a member of the board of AMSP ČR jointly called on the staff and guests of the restaurants to behave responsibly and to follow the simple 3R+S rules.

“For Prague restaurants and culinary employees, the current situation has them on the verge of economic collapse. I welcome the Safe Restaurant initiative, which calls on visitors and business operators to adhere to the 3R+S rules,” Hřib said.

“I believe that Praguers, visitors to Prague from other regions, and restaurants are ready to approach the whole matter very responsibly and will do everything together to ensure that businesses can remain open. I would like that ‘sticks aren’t thrown under their feet,’ as we witnessed [Monday] when their opening hours were shortened,” Zdeněk Hřib said, using a Czech phrase roughly equivalent to “throwing someone under the bus.”

On Dec. 7, the government announced opening hours of restaurants would be cut to 8 p.m. from 10 p.m., effective Dec. 9, among other measures.

ČSPS’s Ferencová said breweries, together with pub and restaurant operators, are doing their utmost to keep culinary establishments safe and open. “That is why, together with AMSP ČR, we initiated the Safe Restaurant project and we are launching a campaign that will present the entire project to the general public with the support of well-known chefs,” she said.

“Although we understand that the situation is complicated, unfortunately the call for a predictable business environment did not materialize and after a few days the government again changed the conditions for operating pubs. This increases uncertainty on the part of restaurants and pubs,” she added.

AMSP ČR’s Kastner called for more transparency. “No one is able to explain the connection between the PES score and the new restrictions in the field of gastronomy and outdoor sales of beverages and snacks. Epidemic numbers began to worsen last week, before the opening of restaurants. [Wednesday’s] tightening looks more like a step to appease the media, but we do not understand why gastronomy is again chosen as a scapegoat,” he said.

The Safe Restaurant initiative is supported by ČSPS together with AMSP ČR along with breweries, non-alcoholic producers and other partners. These include: Bernard, Budějovický Budvar, Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola HBC, Dotykačka, Holba, Chodovar, Kofola, Krušovice, Litovel, MAKRO, Pardubický pivovar, Pivovar Velké Březno, Pivovary Lobkowicz, Pivovary Staropramen, Plzeňský Prazdroj, Restu, Starobrno, Storyous, Svijany, Zubr, and Žatecký pivovar.