Chef Dominique Crenn has reopened her three-Michelin-star restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco for indoor dining, complete with a new hospital-grade UV-C disinfection system.
"I went through cancer in 2018 and 2019, so I was so interested about how clean UV-C was, and I talked to my doctor a lot," Crenn told SFGate. "A friend of my business partner came out with this technology, and I talked to him and I was like, oh my God, this is exactly what we need."
In addition to the standard safety protocols administered in the restaurant, including customer temperature checks, spaced tables, hand sanitiser, masks and health questionnaires, Crenn will also run the new device, known as the Arc, at night to disinfect the dining room after service.
Supplied by San Francisco biosafety company R-Zero, the sleek, six-and-a-half feet tall, portable device is billed "to disinfect 99.99% of surface and airborne pathogens in a 1,000 sq. ft. room, in just 7 minutes." However, there is currently limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UV-C radiation required to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus according to the FDA.
A unit costs between $60,000 and $125,000, but is just $17 a day for businesses to lease. "For me, it was also important to use technology that a lot of restaurants can afford, and not going to a place where it's thousands of dollars," Crenn continues. "The industry must find ways to reinvent, including redesigning operations to make them safe. As a restaurant owner, it’s my duty to make sure we have a safe environment."
San Francisco steak restaurant Ittoryu GOZU has also piloted a UV irradiation system, while other chefs have looked for other options to give greater confidence to diners, like Alain Ducasse's bespoke anti virus air solution installed in his tiny Allard restaurant in Paris.
Read more: US Food and Drug Administration offer answers to consumer's questions about the efficacy of the UVC lights.