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Wisconsin Restaurant Association launches “Ready to Serve Safely” campaign

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - As industries continue to adapt to the pandemic, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association wants to promote restaurants that are investing in the safety of their customers and staff.

"We start with a health check with our employees. We monitor their health," said Scott Lafler, owner of Geno's Pizza.

Geno's has had extra health precautions in place since the beginning of the pandemic, and they've pledged to continue them as Lafler decided his restaurant should be a part of the statewide "Ready to Serve Safely" campaign.

"We always wear masks anytime we're here, back in the kitchen, whether we're out here with our customers, and a big thing of course is our sanitation processes. Every table, every chair, every door handle, when guests come and go, they're cleaned," Lafler said.

In order to participate in this Wisconsin Restaurant Association campaign, restaurants must sign a commitment and follow specific protocols.

"We know there's a lot of folks that don't quite feel comfortable going out in restaurants, and so this is an attempt to really help promote the safety that is already happening in restaurants," said Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

After surveying 3,500 restaurant operators in September, the WRA reports 68 percent said they don't expect their restaurant's sales to return to pre-coronavirus levels within the next six months.

Lafler said from this same time last year, Geno's sales have declined about 20 percent, so Lafler is hoping the new campaign will help with marketing.

"It is a little scary, which is why we take every precaution we can," Lafler said.

However, the extra safety precautions do bring some peace of mind to one Geno's employee.

"It makes me feel a lot better. I like to be a clean freak and so do a few of my other co-workers and my boss especially. He gets on us about it all the time. If you have time to lean, you have time to clean," said Isabella McKellan, a server, cook, and delivery driver for Geno's.

The campaign is made possible with travel grant funds in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

In return for pledging to follow the commitment, restaurants will receive "Ready to Serve Safely" posters, a record of commitment, and be promoted in the statewide campaign.

For a list of participating restaurants or to find out how you can be a part of the campaign, click/tap here.

Courtney Terlecki

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