New skills needed for COVID-19 economy 

AUGUSTA — HospitalityMaine announces a free, online training program for today’s restaurant workforce. The COVID-19 Restaurant Readiness Program guides employees through the new state-mandated restaurant reopening checklist.  

Developed in conjunction with Eastern Maine Community College, it is available to anyone in the industry looking to learn how to stay safe and mentor their customers to do the same in a changed economy. So far, 200 people have taken it.  

“It’s about consumer confidence,” said Brian Langley, owner of the Union River Lobster Pot in Ellsworth, who helped the association with the program. “When people go out to eat, they need to know they are safe and that the staff is trained.”  

When the pandemic hit in March, suddenly a new array of hospitality skills was required. Until now, this education gap has not been addressed. ”We need to educate an entire industry workforce on new ways of operating safely and consistently,” says HospitalityMaine’s CEO Steve Hewins.  

Executed in less than two weeks, the program meets the urgency that the situation demands. “It is a true collaboration of government, education and the private sector to meet the challenge,” reported Hewins.  

Topics include everything from social distancing to sanitation best practices. Digital badges are awarded when the self-guided courses are complete. The badge indicates a mastery of the COVID-19 prevention checklist.  

“It proves how nimble our community colleges are, to get this training program out there so fast,” said Langley, who plans to have his staff take the classes immediately. “HospitalityMaine is the leader in the industry. I am so pleased they were able to take this on.” 

To access the course visit 

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