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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Aspen Institute’s Food & Society Program Releases Free COVID-19 Safety Course for Restaurant Operators

August 18, 2021 GMT
CDC Foundation Logo (PRNewsfoto/CDC Foundation)
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CDC Foundation Logo (PRNewsfoto/CDC Foundation)
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CDC Foundation Logo (PRNewsfoto/CDC Foundation)

ATLANTA, Aug. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- As cities and states across the country resume indoor dining, the Delta variant picks up speed and mask guidance remains inconsistent, the Aspen Institute’s Food & Society Program is partnering with Rouxbe to release a free online training course that promotes safe restaurant dining for both customers and staff, including guidance on vaccinations. This training program, supported by the CDC Foundation, is based on the first national indoor dining safety guidelines, Safety First, released in April 2021 in partnership with prominent restaurant industry leaders and organizations. Safety First is a comprehensive guide to what managers and workers must know to keep their workers and diners protected from COVID-19 in the face of shifting community transmission. Its two principle infographics, the Diner Code of Conduct and Our Covid Pledge, lead with the importance of helping all staff and diners get vaccinated; they are also available in Spanish and Mandarin.

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Anyone can register for the free training, which is divided into short, easily completed units that can be followed at the user’s convenience, at Safety First. Units include videos featuring the country’s leading chefs, checklists, and short multiple-choice review quizzes, and are designed to be encouraging and even fun to follow.

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“Restaurants are confused. Workers are confused. Diners are confused,” says Corby Kummer, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Food & Society Program. “Current Covid news shifts by the week—but the uptick in COVID-19 cases, including some in people who have been vaccinated, puts renewed focus on the need to ensure safe working conditions and eating environments. For restaurant owners and their staff, that means understanding how best to continue to protect workers and diners while we wait for easy and reliable methods of proving vaccination and for the frequency of testing to rise.”

The new Safety First trainings offer invaluable sector-specific guidance for restaurant operators to keep their workers and guests safe in the face of varying vaccination and transmission levels around the country. “This Safety First course will offer clarity at a moment when the restaurant industry urgently needs it,” says Ken Rubin, chief culinary officer with Rouxbe, who helps with the development of all online courses.

The training also includes insights into how to find nearby vaccination sites, guidance for all food-service workers to build their own personal-health plan, and the importance of discussing mental health and finding nearby resources as the pandemic continues. Those insights are part of the recently announced CDC Foundation Food Worker COVID-19 Health Safety Toolkit.

The course is organized by units, each about 15 to 20 minutes and includes short videos that showcase the voices and perspectives of restaurants and foodservice workers. The course also includes learning tasks and resources including knowledge checks to review what has been learned. The entire course can be completed at once in about 90 minutes.

Food & Society’s Safety First guidelines were generously supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and Food@Google.

Food and Society at the Aspen Institute brings together leaders and decision-makers in the food and beverage industry and the public health community—scientists, nutritionists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and food makers of all kinds—to find solutions to production, health, and communications challenges in the food system. It is currently working on a major initiative to broaden the work on the Food Is Medicine movement, creating a Research Priorities Action Plan that will be a road map for future funding that will extend current work to rural and underserved areas. The goal is for people of all income levels to eat better and more healthful diets—and to enjoy them bite by bite. Find executive director Corby Kummer on Twitter @ckummer.

Rouxbe, the world’s leading online culinary school, was founded in 2005 to train people of all abilities to become better, more confident—even healthier—cooks in kitchens around the world. With high-definition videos, world-class instructors, peer support and interactive assignments, Rouxbe has set the bar as the new standard in culinary education, providing certificate-level instruction not only to quality restaurants and hospitality organizations but also to serious home cooks and career changers. Rouxbe’s revolutionary online platform delivers cutting-edge e-learning solutions that drive and measure learning outcomes and engagement while providing effective, lower-cost alternatives for training professional cooks. Rouxbe programs are also recognized by both the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation and by WorldChefs as approved training programs.

The CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) save and improve lives by unleashing the power of collaboration between CDC, philanthropies, corporations, organizations and individuals to protect the health, safety, and security of America and the world. The CDC Foundation is the go-to nonprofit authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private-sector resources to support CDC’s critical health protection mission. Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has raised over $1.2 billion and launched more than 1,200 programs impacting a variety of health threats from chronic disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer, to infectious diseases like rotavirus and HIV, to emergency responses, including COVID-19 and Ebola. The CDC Foundation managed hundreds of CDC-led programs in the United States and in more than 140 countries last year.

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SOURCE CDC Foundation