Green Flag status for Covid-19 compliant establishments in KZN
Several restaurants in KwaZulu-Natal obtained Green Flag status on Wednesday when their existing Covid-19 protocols were certified by the newly formed GreenFlag Association.
Similar to Blue Flag status obtained by beaches, the GreenFlag certification of public spaces is said to offer reassurance that a venue has taken all precautions to provide a safe public space to customers and staff — especially when it comes to adequate ventilation.
Described as a world first and a uniquely SA concept, the association, comprising international scientists, academics and business representatives, was launched ahead of the Easter weekend amid talk of a possible third wave of the virus.
Butcher Boys in Umhlanga, Tasca Pizza and Foam coffee shop in Umdloti, the Baron in the Arch, Bird and Co in the Umhlanga Village and The Quarter Shopping Centre were among the establishments that received certification on Wednesday.
Sean Chester, an occupational hygienist and founding chairperson of the association, said Covid-19 was largely an airborne disease therefore air quality was critical in reducing the spread of the disease.
“Ventilation with fresh clean replacement air is a crucial element of providing a safe and healthy environment and, like other Covid-19 safety protocols — such as wearing masks and cleansing hands regularly — ensures an extremely important extra level of safety for visitors,” he said.
The GreenFlag Association is a collaboration between Apex Environmental, a leading environmental health and safety firm, Supplier Development Initiatives (SDI), a firm that assists in enterprise and supplier development, as well as ADreach, which specialises in marketing and communications.
SDI CEO and co-founder of the GreenFlag Association Charles Murray said one of the main objectives of the association was to raise the awareness and understanding of the importance of proper air quality and adequately ventilated public spaces in preventing the transmission of any airborne diseases and to promote healthier and safer public spaces internationally.
“Around the world there has been a lack of understanding and relatively slow acknowledgment from leading international scientific organisations about the airborne nature of Covid-19 and the significance of airborne transmission in poorly ventilated environments. This continues to be the case, despite consensus that trapped air is the main source of so-called hotspots and superspreader events.”
To acquire GreenFlag certification, a specially trained inspector assesses the air quality of the venue using a set of scientific criteria. Should the establishment meet the criteria, it will be issued with GreenFlag certification.
The certification will specify the number of people that can safely occupy the space, without compromising the safety of patrons, as well as indicate optimal airflow configurations necessary to prevent an accumulation of airborne viral particles.
“GreenFlag certificates can be displayed at the entrance of the establishment or viewed online, which gives potential customers the peace of mind to enter the venue, or choose to avoid it, should the space be overcrowded,” says Brad Fisher, CEO of ADreach and co-founder of the association.