Update on our Covid-secure measures 2022

VENTILATION, VENTILATION AND VENTILATION IS OUR MANTRA AS WELL AS MASK WEARING

We believe that to keep everyone safe, we have to keep all our covid-secure measures in place for the foreseeable future as we learn to live with covid.

We are very aware that whilst hospital admissions are not rising, we are again in the middle of another wave as can be seen by the steady rise in covid cases caused by a new Omicron variant. We want to minimise risk to everyone visiting our kitchens so are taking responsibility for keeping us all as safe as possible as we have done since our return to our kitchens in September 2021. This approach has, without doubt, been the correct one as no one has contracted covid whilst working in our kitchens.

As we are no longer required to do lateral flow tests and with PCR tests being expensive, very few people are doing the latter if they are ill. There is also no longer a requirement to report if one has covid nor to isolate so if anyone decides to do a class at Cookery School whilst covid positive, they could easily pass it on to others in the group. To reduce that risk, we are happy to replace classes where a participant comes down with covid in an attempt to keep others in the same group safe. This approach has worked in that we have provided numerous replacement classes and work on a basis of trust as NHS covid positive reports are no longer available.

Safety in protecting everyone against Covid-19 is of primary importance. Anyone coming into the kitchens will have to be 100% compliant with our procedures. If they are not, we will ask them to leave the premises as we cannot compromise the health of others. We are told by those that are involved in public health and covid research that good ventilation and mask wearing are primary requirements in helping to halt the spread of covid.

Theses are current covid-secure measures that we are taking :

On Arrival

• Temperatures of everyone, including Cookery School staff, are taken on arrival and carefully recorded. This is so it is quick and easy and effortless for us.
• On entry to the kitchens everyone is required to use an alcohol rub on their hands.
• Before starting to cook everyone is asked to wash their hands.

During Class

• Everyone has to use a face mask unless for some reason they are unable to do so, we will provide a visor
• Masks are provided free of charge, so that outdoor masks are not used in the kitchen environment
• Cookery School has a ‘ventilation, ventilation, ventilation’ mantra and keeps air in the kitchens moving. We have specialised units to purify air and destroy viruses, fungi and bacteria that may be lurking
• Virotech air/surface sanitiser units based on ultraviolet light technology, have been installed in both kitchens and run all the time
• IQAir units (used in hospitals) to purify and recycle air so that viruses, fungi and bacteria are destroyed run in both kitchens all the time
• We have separate air conditioning units running in each of the kitchens and these provide a source of clean air. Our cooking extractor fans are also turned on at all times. External doors and/or window are kept open at all times to encourage continuous movement of air
• Everyone is reminded not to lick their fingers whilst cooking and to wash their hands regularly with soap and water to limit the spread of Covid-19 and any bacteria
• Infrared technology operates all taps, soap dispensers and alcohol hand sanitisers so that no one needs to touch these. Whilst no longer necessary – these remain in place from when we returned in September 2021 when it was believed that surfaces could hold the virus
• Everyone is provided with disposable biodegradable aprons and, when necessary biodegradable gloves
• With aerosols from flushing circulating in toilets we recommend that the seat is put down before flushing as that limits the spread of air borne viruses in aerosol form in the toilet
• When leaving the toilet everyone has to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Paper towels are available for drying hands. Dedicated bins, that are regularly emptied, have paper towels deposited in them
• Screens, that separate people working at the same work station (two people maximum), have been installed. Side by side work stations are socially distanced
• Attendees on professional courses, will additionally, only will require a fresh change of whites daily. These are provided by students themselves. It is essential that whites are washed daily so that worn whites are not reused in the kitchen
• We have, since our inception, had a tasting regime that others have ridiculed because we allow only one taste with one spoon and then that spoon is put into a ‘used spoon’ bowl so as not to be confused with other equipment. We have loads of spoons so never shortage of tasting spoons. These tasting spoons are regularly washed and then clean bowls of spoons put out again. This regime is more important than ever during this time of covid plaguing our lives
• Our staff are trained in all our safety practices and precautions and competently follow all procedures. We have a new risk assessment for Covid-19 in place
• Our back of house staff provide students with the required ingredients, equipment, etc. in classes, to reduce contamination. No one dishes up their own food or helps themselves to equipment.
• Anyone wanting second helpings of the delicious food they have prepared in the class will be given a fresh plate to avoid cross contamination
• In those classes where food is taken home, we ask students to bring in their own containers and refrigeration bags with freezer blocks to transport food safely to avoid contamination. Cookery School is not responsible for what happens to food once it leaves our premises as it is in perfect condition before then. In the case of breads, cakes and pastries, we supply cake boxes in which to carry these items home.

We know how important the above rules are to keeping everyone as safe and as healthy as possible and are grateful for the compliance of all that have adhered to these rules over the past couple of years. We are hoping that as covid reduces, we will be able to reduce these rules accordingly but for now feel that we have no alternative except to do what we have done and seen it to be working well.

The above protocols will be reviewed frequently and as the level of infection in the country reduces, or increases, and more information is available on the spread of covid, we will alter these protocols accordingly. This latest advice above has been updated on Wednesday 27 June 2022.

If you have any queries or questions, please contact us before booking or joining us for a class or course.

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