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The verdict is in: table linens are single-use items and therefore safe to use!

As restaurants start taking dine-in guests again, those in the industry are searching for the safest way forward. Armed with knowledge and experience of the past few months, restaurant owners and managers know that every precaution is necessary.

With the threat of coronavirus on the minds of U.S. citizens, ensuring concerned customers of their safety is a priority. The best way to do that is to demonstrate protective measures are being taken.  More than just signs and masks, customers need to see these changes and safeguards when they walk in the door. 

What the CDC Says About Table Linens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an amended version of its original restaurant guidelines. In it, they declare linen tablecloths and napkins single-use items. As a single-use item, table linens get replaced after being used. Unlike their plastic and paper counterparts, tablecloths and napkins improve the dining experience while protecting customers.

Under these guidelines, tablecloths and linen napkins fall under the general category of “shared objects.” As a shared object, the CDC places strict guidelines on their use, and, if following those guidelines, declares them safe. 

Unfortunately, the phrase “shared objects” sounds something to be avoided in the age of Coronavirus. What it doesn’t relay is that, after every use, tablecloths and cotton napkins are replaced and washed. This prevents surface transmissions but also ensures a clean table no matter the previous party.  Single-use objects encompass both disposable and thoroughly-laundered materials.

Also, as cotton products, table linens are far less likely to transmit the disease. Instead of leaving infected water droplets on a surface, cotton absorbs the water. As a result, water, the viruses’ method of transportation, gets locked inside the table linens. 

For the entirety of the CDC guidelines on tablecloths and other items click here

What the TRSA Says About Table Linens

The presumption that reusable linens as unsafe in the face of biological epidemics initially kept them out of restaurants. That didn’t sit well with the Textile Rental Service Association (TRSA) who, working with industry leaders, pushed to reestablish linen benefits in this crisis. By underscoring the anti-pathogenic properties of properly utilized table linens, they hoped to convince authorities of table linen’s merits. Their efforts paid off, and state officials in Kentucky and Massachusetts loosened restrictions to allow table linen use. 

In a webinar between restaurant owners, the TRSA, and representatives from federal agencies, these efforts were discussed. It was agreed that linen tablecloths and napkins are safe to use and therefore allowable under new guidelines. Provided, of course, that a fresh set of linens be used for each customer. 

Going Forward With Single-Use Materials

We now have a better idea of how the coronavirus spreads, and with that knowledge, can enact truly protective measures. Controls like socially-distanced seating, regular sanitation of food prep lines, and reinforcing personal hygiene procedures can help. But for a change that not only protects, but improves the dining experience of guests, nothing’s better than table linens. 

In Conclusion

Despite earlier notions on table linen safety, the CDC and TRSA have decided that properly maintained table linens pose no threat. They can, in fact, aid us in our fight against COVID-19.  As long as restaurants replace linens after every use with professionally laundered restaurant linens, they’ll be safe. 

For Better Restaurant Laundry Services, Call Wilkins Linen Today

Under these new and trying circumstances, we cannot risk complacency or mediocrity. We cannot risk anything less than excellent, safe quality products. But this is not something that your business must go through alone. Entrust your restaurant’s laundry service with a company whose processes are in compliance with the highest hygiene and safety standards.

Contact Wilkins Linen at 1-866-WILKINS today for more information, or visit our contact page here.  

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