Restaurant Owners: Focus on Active Air Treatment Solutions for Indoor Air Quality
Many Americans are hopeful that 2021 will bring brighter days for hard-working Americans across the country, relief to beleaguered companies and communities, and an earnest wish for the healing of a nation that is tired yet unbroken. TGI Fridays®, the iconic restaurant brand known for delivering good food and good times, conducted a survey asking participants how they felt about 2020. A key finding was remarkable; 51 percent of people would rather answer a spam call or get a root canal than repeat 2020.
While 2020 was beyond challenging for just about everyone and nearly every industry, the restaurant industry was particularly hard hit. Now over a year into the pandemic, America’s restaurants are still reeling from the ongoing effects of shutdowns and limited capacity regulations. Despite communities from across the nation banding together to support the hospitality industry, thousands of restaurants are suffering and, sadly, may not be able to weather the storm. The loss of neighborhood restaurants impacts local jobs and severs the tie that has brought together strangers and families alike for decades.
Unfortunately, indoor dining has been branded as “risky,” imposing the fear that you are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 in a restaurant setting than in other public venues.
With proper precautions in place, the fear of dining out can be quelled by a sense of shared responsibility between diners and restaurant owners. Restaurants can instill confidence by exceeding industry standards around food preparation, service, and operations. To that end, it makes sense for restaurants to take advantage of readily accessible products and technology designed to improve Indoor Air Quality. As a part of RGF’s NEW GERM WARFARE campaign, their Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) technologies include proven solutions such as the REME HALO® with PHI-Cell® technology, which inactivates SARS-CoV-2, the virus known to cause coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19.
So, what should restaurateurs and patrons do to support healthy restaurants and a healthy restaurant industry?
Combine Personal Protection with Active Air Treatment
As we learn more about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we know that it can spread over longer distances than initially thought. Meaning, in a restaurant environment where people are dining, there is a risk that the virus can readily spread from one person to the next. Given the virus is airborne, it can go anywhere the air goes. Another way to look at it is if you can smell the odor of food being prepared, the same airborne particles can carry the virus.
What restaurants need to promote patron and employee safety is an active air treatment system that reduces (or eliminates) the airborne spread of the virus. Active air treatment systems, paired with personal protection like wearing masks before you are seated, will have a bolstered impact. Ultimately, the best way to create the safest restaurant environment possible is to deploy an active air treatment system that is both effective and scientifically validated.
Active Air Treatment Protects Seated Patrons
If two people sit across from each other while enjoying a beer or meal, they are not wearing a mask. How can RGF’s technology stop the spread of viruses passing between the two of them as they are talking?
RGF is working closely with independent and national restaurant chains to implement indoor air quality technology. There is already quite a long list of restaurants that have converted to RGF’s technology and implemented the system across the country.
An independent third-party study focused on the inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 using RGF’s REME HALO® product with PHI-Cell® technology. The study demonstrated efficacy rates of greater than 99.9% against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The testing, performed at the Innovative Bioanalysis Laboratories in Cypress, Calif., looked at neutralizing the virus within the occupied space in the air and on surfaces.
Let us explain how RGF’s technology works. The REME HALO uses a combination of ionization and an active technology called Photohydroionization®. RGF’s patented Photohydroionization is based on ultraviolet lighting (or UV), but it does not use UV to kill pathogens. Rather, Photohydroionization uses UV as an energy source focused on a proprietary catalyst to drive oxidative reactions. It may sound technical, but it is relatively straightforward. The oxidative reactions take naturally occurring water vapor from the environment (H2O), and they add an oxygen molecule to the H2O — now making H2O2, otherwise known as hydrogen peroxide. The H2O2 levels are low, no more than the natural outdoor levels.
With quadrillions of water vapor molecules in the space, many of those molecules are hydrogen peroxide molecules — making the environment rich in hydrogen peroxide. In this environment, every time a virus particle is projected into the space (like when two people are talking), it is immediately inactivated because there are many more hydrogen peroxide molecules than virus particles. Those active hydrogen peroxide molecules are actively seeking another particle to attach. When the hydrogen peroxide molecules combine with a virus particle, an extra oxygen molecule is released, and hydrogen peroxide reverts to water. But in giving it up the extra molecule, these “protective” hydrogen peroxides oxidize and kill all kinds of microorganisms, such as bacteria, mold spores, and viruses.
The theory is that you have a rich, safe environment with hydrogen peroxide molecules throughout the space. When a virus is projected within the room, it is readily inactivated. The technology is intended to operate 24/7, so it is immediately and continually impacting and protecting the space.
Don’t Overlook Restrooms and Ice Machines
Restaurant owners should consider the different areas where harmful microorganisms can enter the restaurant space and where harmful microorganisms can live and breed.
When installing an active air treatment system in the building HVAC, you are treating the restaurant space. But there are additional areas like restrooms that may not be part of the main HVAC system. At RGF, we have an Avid Air® air purification System, which is self-contained and not connected to the building HVAC system. Avid Air attaches onto the restroom ceiling or wall and provides the same Photohydroionization generated in the restaurant’s central HVAC system with RGF technology. An added benefit of the Avid Air system is that it runs 24/7, protecting against other viruses like Norovirus, which tend to the highest risk in restrooms.
Another place that needs treatment separately is ice machines. With ice machines, you have an ice machine head (where you take water and turn it into ice) and a bin (where you store the ice). Both are excellent places for viruses, bacteria and mold to be introduced and grow. RGF’s IMSB Ice Machine Treatment System can be used with most ice machines in the industry. The IMSB utilizes RGF’s patented PHI-cell® to pump low-level hydrogen peroxide into the ice machine bin and head. The natural and chemical-free process provides two benefits: ice production is crystal clear without mold or mildew with the added protection from the things you can’t see, like viruses and bacteria.
How to Start Your Project
Through RGF’s NEW GERM WARFARE Program, RGF contractors provide project management, engineering and installation expertise that allows them to go into any restaurant environment and evaluate the current HVAC system. But more specifically, RGF contractors can determine what the HVAC systems do not cover. The RGF contractor team evaluates from the front of the house to the back of the house, including ice machines and restrooms. RGF’s experts provide a whole building solution that allows for all air within the restaurant space to be safe. Ready to start your project? RGF has licensed contractors prepared to help you.