Suncoast restaurant becomes the first to earn COVID-19 safety award

Updated: Jul. 26, 2020 at 7:08 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - In the weeks after its re-opening, the Anna Maria Oyster Bar located at 525 51st Avenue East in Ellenton, took additional measures to keep diners and employees safe.

The AMOB staff spent a couple of days training with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Now their team is certified with the FRLA Seal of Commitment.

“We always keep our ours updated (the certification),” says owner John Horne. “Every staff member that touches food in our restaurant has to be safe certified.”

As part of the rigorous training, employees learned how to sanitize the restaurant to keep their customers safe from COVID-19. Now, the staff conducts daily temperature checks, they wipe down the hostess area, and they wipe all the menus.

“We’re washing our hands every 30 minutes. We have a bell that goes off. It’s rung by our sanitizing person in every 30 minutes. That bell rings and staff stops what they are doing, to the best of their ability and washes or sanitizers their hands,” says Christopher Benge, who is the restaurant manager.

Plus, a new role was created, they call this person "the Sanitizer".

“He basically goes around the entire restaurant and does nothing but wipe things down and sanitize at the restaurant. Our hostesses and there are sanitizing wiping down menus,” explains Benge.

Before entering the restaurant, every guest must have on a mask. Each dining booth has a plastic curtain in between to ensure social distancing.

There are 11 other restaurants in Florida that have earned also FRLA’s Seal of Commitment, including Michael’s on East in Sarasota.

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