Silver Diner has installed a new, custom air purification system to combat the coronavirus in all of its 20 locations.
The restaurant group spent about $500,000 in a cleaning system that uses an ultraviolet light that claims to disinfect the air and surfaces in the air conditioning equipment. When the restaurant closes, an ultraviolet light turns on, aiming to kill pathogens on surfaces.
Restaurant staff will also use handheld ultraviolet light sterilizers.
Silver Diner co-Owner Ype Von Hengst said the investment was made in order to make staff and customers feel safe.
"Everyone knows this technology, but to put it all together in one package, we are the first one to do this," Von Hengst said.
"It's costly, but I think everyone will do it because it's less costly than not having guests in your restaurants," he said.
The installations were done by a Richmond company, Veteran LED, that has gotten into the business of battling the coronavirus with UV-C lights.
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"We're just utilizing the technology that's been around for 100 years in fact, utilizing that technology and these products that have been proven to work in the field and industries such as medical and laboratories and putting it into restaurants." Chris Rawlings, owner of Veteran LED, said.
According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers, ultraviolet energy could be a tool to fight coronavirus.
The International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) also says that "UV disinfection technologies can play a role in a multiple barrier approach to reducing the transmission of the virus causing COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, based on current disinfection data and empirical evidence."
According to the IUVA, all bacteria and viruses tested to date respond to UV disinfection. UV light has already been proven to kill two other coronaviruses under controlled environments in laboratories.