Covington’s Bouquet Reopens With Tech Aimed to Reduce Spread of COVID-19

The farm-to-table restaurant’s new HVAC system is claimed by its manufacturer to filter virus particles from the air.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the dining-out experience probably won’t look like it used to for a while. Many restaurants have cautiously reopened to the public with added safety measures to reduce the chances of infecting staff and customers. But Stephen Williams, chef-owner of Bouquet Restaurant in Covington, wanted to add an extra layer of virus protection to his dining room: an ionic air filtration system.

Photograph courtesy of Bouquet Restaurant

This filtration system, called iWave, uses technology called “needle-point bipolar ionization” to filter out pollutants such as mold, smoke, and pollen. Some studies published on the manufacturer’s website show a 99.4 percent decrease in SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease) when filtered using this technology.

It’s important to note, however, the efficacy of such ionic filtration systems with SARS-CoV-2 have not been endorsed or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). It’s the same technology that caused a stir last month when touted by the pastors of a megachurch in Arizona prior to a political rally hosted by the President.

Williams says he originally came across the technology while looking for an air filtration system for his own home. “It was really something that we just thought would be that extra level of protection,” he says. “[It] was just what I thought was the best next step.”

Along with the system’s installation, Bouquet has made additional changes to their operations to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 between staff and guests. Pedal operated hand sanitizer stations have been installed in the dining room, which is now also limiting its dining room capacity to 30 percent to ensure social distancing. Disposable menus are now printed on paper and masked and gloved staff members sanitize shared surfaces frequently throughout the day.

Bouquet Restaurant, 519 Main St., Covington, (859) 491-7777

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