The Airport Restaurant & Retail Association (ARRA) recently endorsed the COVID-19 safety guidelines of the National Restaurant Association and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure effective, comprehensive safety and sanitization precautions and procedures are implemented consistently by ARRA members at airports across North America.

ARRA is encouraging its members to adopt these safety guidelines as they adapt to the unpredictable aviation environment. The guidelines offer members and concessions businesses in airports a single source to maintain infection controls and help protect employees and passengers from transmission.

The recommendations include continuous training and frequent hand washing by employees, wearing masks, social distancing, effective cleaning and sanitization procedures, managing space limitations and queueing in stores and restaurants, touchless technology for ordering and purchases, and other measures.

“Our members are doing everything they can to survive the dramatic loss of passengers caused by COVID-19,” said Rob Wigington, ARRA’s executive director. “ARRA members are joining with airlines and airports on measures to protect against the infection and transmission and to ensure passengers have the safest experience.”

ARRA forecasts that airport restaurant and retail concessionaires will lose $3.4 billion by the end of 2021 as the result of the pandemic and its devastating impact on leisure and business travel.

The National Restaurant Association’s guideline document, entitled, “Safe Operating Guidance,” was updated in November 2020 and builds upon already established best practices regarding health and safety policies and procedures. The CDC provides extensive guidance for airport retail and food service workers and employers in the Workplaces and Businesses section of its website.

“Operating a restaurant or retail store in an airport is dramatically different from operating street side, but it’s vital we have one set of standards given the enormous challenges we face as operators given the steep decline in passengers and the costs associated with implementing new standards,” said Bill Casey, CEO of Phase 2 Hospitality and an advisor to the ARRA Board of Directors.