Coronavirus Guide for Security & Door Host

Back of security in nightclub
Security measures for COVID-19

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is having major ramifications globally and specifically to on-premise locations.

Perception is reality and many locations are reporting massive drops in foot traffic to their bar or restaurant. Owners and operators are scrambling to reassure guests their operations are safe and the necessary precautions are being taken. 

We sat down with Robert Smith, CEO & President of Nightlife Security Consultants, on best practices to share with your security and door hosts. Smith is a Nightclub & Bar Show advisory board member and has decades of experience between 20 years in law enforcement in San Diego and spending the last 20 helping bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues with their security and guest experience training.

Our key takeaway from Smith is finding the line of ensuring guest safety and their experience. Make sure you review these policies nightly with your staff and update as required by local government mandates and from guest feedback.

Here are 13 steps to review and add to your door staff's procedures to prevent and mitigate coronavirus spreading:

  • Leadership: Owners or managers must talk to their door staff and explain the underlying issues of this time period and the need to have an open mind. 
  • Signage: Important “Messaging” to remind guests and team members of best practices when in public including washing their hands often, covering mouth or into elbow when coughing or sneezing, avoiding hand to hand contact, and not touching their face. Signs can be posted in any line queue, in the bar, and the bathroom doors and mirrors.
  • Lower Capacities: COVID-19 is passed on more easily in areas of close contact proximity. Give your guests more room to move without incidental contact with others. Your guests will be more comfortable with less crowded space during this time of public concern and NY recently made this a mandate. Move seating further apart if possible and communicate your voluntary reduction in capacity online and through signage so guests know. 
  • Hand Sanitizer:- Add mobile hand sanitizer stations for guests where possible, including entries and exits, near bathrooms, and bar areas where transactions happen.
  • Latex/Rubber Gloves: Security team members, especially door staff, should have access to latex or rubber gloves. Any employee using latex gloves should be reminded to avoid touching their face and to change the latex gloves often.
  • ID Checking/Age Verification with Masks: If you must check the ID, a simple and polite request to just move the mask down will get the job done.
  • Masks: Zero tolerance for other guests who might confront or address a guest wearing a mask in a negative fashion.
  • Personal Hand Sanitizer: Guests should be allowed to bring in their own hand sanitizer if they like.
  • Hand Contact: Implement a “No Handshakes” policy and instead knuckle or elbow bumps if a physical greeting must be done. Prepare for some guests to not want any physical contact and communicate your staff should be friendly but firm when declining a handshake.
  • Refusing Entry: A new category for refusing entry is for a guest showing any signs of flu or flu-like symptoms. The door host should be the screener and the manager should make the ultimate decision. Many states have the right to refuse service and managers should have scripts prepared for guests who claim they have allergies or another condition. Staff should communicate this policy is temporary and necessary for the comfort of others during the time.
  • Going Hands-On: Should the need to go hands-on with a violent guest, be sure to have necessary sanitation materials for staff, venue and any other guests who might be involved.
  • 911 When Appropriate: Much like many already known diseases, COVID-19 is transmitted via fluid transfer. For whatever reason, should a guest spit on or threaten to spit on any member of the team, consideration should be given to calling 911 and reporting this actual transfer of fluids or threat. This WOULD NOT be a bad call for police service. At a minimum, staff should identify the individual by obtaining a copy of their license. 
  • Be Calm: Overacting to situations potentially related to COVID-19 can lead to panic. Our job is to maintain order and, like all things, handle with professionalism.

How have you updated your door policies in light of coronavirus? Email us your insight at [email protected] 

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