An update from our proprietor & co-owner, Pete Boland regarding safety measure being taken to combat the spread of COVID-19:
Good morning — as it has now been a little over a month since the outbreak among hospitality workers shred thru our Downtown and prompted the closure of The Galley, Mary Margaret’s, and many others I’ve had some time to reflect on “what went wrong”. Also, new studies & research have come to light at regarding what and how these spreads can occur.
So this morning, I want to share a recent epiphany of mine, and how we’ve responded in making our environments as safe as possible for our guests, staff, and vendors.
If we go back and look at where we were in May & where we ended up in June, I think it’s important to recognize why it happened in June, and not in March, April, or May. In March/April/May, we were very blessed to have exceptionally excellent weather going all the way into Memorial Day weekend. I don’t remember many times in my lifelong Florida residency where temperature frequently dipped into the 60s nightly in the Middle of May, which is typically the first really warm month of the year here. With such excellent weather, and without an abundance of anecdotal evidence of our friends and neighbors suffering from COVID-19, we all let our guards down and pursued a quick return to normalcy enjoy the outdoors and with our windows down, and our AC off.
Then— our Florida Summer began its late start on Memorial Day weekend ushering in some famous Florida Heat, and we began piling indoors and into the comfort of Air Conditioning. To me, and others, there is no coincidence that this is where the spread began, as aerosolized droplets got passed along at establishments like The Galley.
Most air conditioning, like at The Galley, uses re-circulated air to cool the space. Consider a time when diners are eating, drinking, talking & laughing in a closed re-circulated air environment, it is highly likely that those droplets are being passed about thru the HVAC systems of our public spaces.
It’s also no coincidence to me, that of all the staffers of mine who fell ill with COVID, none were my back of the house employees, who work daily under Hood Ventilation & with make-up fresh air systems that push in clean air and remove warm air.
This is where my epiphany comes in, along with my friendship with 2nd Generation HVAC man, and PTECH HVAC Instructor, Juan Murillo from Mercury Heating and Air, Inc….
While driving a few weeks ago, I overheard the CEO of Carrier (the biggest maker of HVAC units in the world) discussing a new portable air scrubbing product that they’ve brought to market to use in hospitals in the rooms of COVID positive patients.
I asked Juan what he thought about the product and what could be done to create a better environment for public spaces like my own. He immediately pulled up and passed the attached video of the Guardian Air Reme Halo by RGF, a product he himself has used in his own home for nearly 10 years.
After some diligent research, we agreed to move forward with the install of Reme Halo to treat our HVAC systems with the guardian air that acts as an air-scrubber and airborne sanitizer which mimics the effects of fresh outdoor air, and neutralizes a sneeze before it travels 3 feet. Unlike other UV Lights in ducting, the Reme Halo device uses UV Light to bake out ionized-hydrogen peroxides and pushes them out to treat the air in your home or business. The technology was first developed by the US Navy to treat air inside Nuclear Submarines in the 1970s, and in recent years has come to market for residential & commercial applications. This active air scrubber works constantly to remove airborne allergens, dust, mold, odors, bacteria, and… viruses from the indoor air. While it is not yet known if it specifically defends against SARS-Cov 2, it has been proven effective against many other viruses, including the common cold and H1N1.
I strongly believe that there needs to be a greater emphasis on Ventilation (the V in HVAC) for all public spaces like restaurants, schools and other public buildings and the treatment of these public spaces with air scrubbers battling sick building syndrome and poor indoor air quality.
There is no coincidence the spread of SARS-COV2 is now prominent in warm summer states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida where AC is a necessity in the Summer months.
A mask can only do so much to defend against this nasty little microscopic bug, something more has to be done to make our indoor environments as safe as possible.
We are proud to announce that the Reme Halo has been fully installed and actively scrubbing the air of each of our dining spaces, The Galley & The Hold, & Mary Margaret’s.
In addition to the use of the Reme Halo, we are actively keeping our doors and windows open each and every day to welcome in fresh outside air (that is already loaded with scrubbing ionized air) and to create the safest and confident dining experience possible for our guests. We take this all seriously and want to do more, and to share our story and findings.
There is a national back-log for this product, so there is a limited supply currently, but I strongly implore responsible business owners, local officials & school systems to look at this technology and to take the necessary steps to create the best possible indoor air environments in the age of COVID-19.
While the install of this product is not cheap, the safety of our beloved guests & staffers is not something to cut cost on. We want you all to know that you can dine with us for years to come with confidence that we’ve done all that we can to make our dining rooms as safe as possible, even after Social Distancing & Mask Orders fade away.
Please watch this video, do your research, and then ask local leaders what they are doing to promote indoor air quality for our citizens, students, customers, friends & families.
God bless you all and have a great week, and fantastic summer, and an amazing end of this crazy year.
THANK YOU for reading and for all the continued support!!