FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — The Wine Kitchen is among the crowd of restaurants in the county and across the country adjusting to tiered phases of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Every week we’re changing something or developing new policies and procedures. It’s an ongoing process, it’s kind of like trying to fix a boat while out at sea,” explained owner of the Wine Kitchen, Jason Miller.
But throughout the changing set of restrictions, one product has remained essential for businesses to get their hands on: hand sanitizer.
“The broader market was operating with the idea of a very limited supply and a lot of demand,” Miller said, “So we were seeing 40 to 50 dollars for a gallon of hand sanitizer. All the cleaning products are expensive. To be effective, it costs a lot.”
Just a few hundred yards away, McClintock Distilling has been creating the cleanser since March for hospitals and non-profits, donating about $45,000 in hand sanitizer.
But in recent weeks, it’s businesses that are reaching out for supply.
“We’ve heard from a lot of people, particularly restaurants and bars that are lower priority than first responders and hospitals, that they’re still having a hard time getting [hand sanitizer],” said co-owner of McClintock Distilling, Braeden Bumpers, “In these extraordinary times, we felt that you really needed to do what you could to help these people, rather than price-gouge them”
Now, McClintock is expanding their program to give away a free gallon of hand sanitizer and surface cleaner to local businesses. So far, 300 gallons have been given away.
The Wine Kitchen has developed a secondary manual for employees to follow in the reopening of outdoor dining and indoor dining. In addition to tables spaced six feet apart, employees wipe down surfaces between each set of guests. In the restaurant, McClintock hand sanitizer is on every one of their dining tables.
“For us, it’s invaluable to not have to think about it and worry about where we’re going to order it from. Just that piece of mind itself is an invaluable thing for us,” Miller said.
Bumpers says McClintock is reserving about 3,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to be distributed to businesses throughout the state, and in D.C. and Delaware.
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