Rest­aurants on alert due to flu outbreaks

Employees taking extra precaution for clea­nliness


SAN ANTONIO - According to the San Antonio Restaurant Association, area restaurants are taking extra care to keep employees and customers safe during this latest flu outbreak.

Restaurant customer Elizabeth Kutas said it always seems like a gamble when she goes out to eat.

"You don't know if the employees wash their hands right or if they sneeze into your foods and stuff, so you just have to be careful," she said.

Employees at the Jim's restaurant at Hildebrand and San Pedro are being extra careful.

According to Gary Johson, director of operations at Jim's and an executive committee member of the San Antonio Restaurant Association, they've been heightening their awareness to make sure they don't help spread colds and flu.

"We have a responsibility to the public so we're very, very conscious of it, but this time of year, the managers talk it up with their staff during pre-shift meetings, during the course of the shift (and) if we see something that isn't right, we address it immediately," said Johnson.

Under the health code, restaurant employees can't work if they are infectious, have persistent sneezing, coughing or a runny nose.

When waitress Dede Greenwood caught the flu several weeks ago, it cost her three days of work

"You can't do anything about it," she said. "You'd rather be at home getting well than being at work passing it on."

Restaurant employees are required to wash their hands while they're at work and right now, many are being even more diligent than usual.

"If you have to cough, if you sneeze, if you touch your hair -- anything -- you need to wash your hands and sanitize," said Greenwood. "You can wash your hands as many as 15 to 20 times."

Greenwood said it's an important step to staying healthy so she won't have to miss work and also to keep customers safe.


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