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Corona proof dining out with online tool

Scientists of Wageningen University & Research, TU Delft and Erasmus MC have developed an online tool that helps determine how indoor spaces can be designed and used corona proof. With the OpenSmartTogether tool, restaurant owners can limit the risks of the spreading of the coronavirus in their restaurant. The researchers are inviting restaurant owners to participate in an online pilot.

How do we restart society responsibly after the lockdown? That is the big question facing the government and various sectors. “Until now, the policy has mainly been a one-size-fits-all approach, while tailor-made solutions are also possible”, says project leader Quirine ten Bosch, specialist in infectious diseases modelling at Wageningen University & Research. The OpenSmartTogether (in Dutch: SamenSlimOpen) tool helps to find out with which combination of solutions and measures the chance of spreading the coronavirus in a specific indoor space is as low as possible.

This month, the researchers are going to test the OpenSmartTogether tool virtually with restaurant owners who have registered for it. All kinds of factors such as the number of square metres, the ventilation, the number of guests and how long they stay seated and the number of shifts are included in the tool. “These are the factors that we can adjust to achieve the ultimate goal: to reduce the risks of the coronavirus spreading in indoor areas to such an extent that people can stay there responsibly”, says Ten Bosch.

Knowledge combined

In the OpenSmartTogether tool, virological and epidemiological knowledge is combined with data from crowd modelling research. If everything goes according to plan, the tool will be available online for all restaurant owners in April. As soon as restaurants are allowed to reopen, restaurant owners can then use the tool to take targeted measures to minimise the risk of the coronavirus spreading in their specific location.

In the next phase, the tool will be further developed for other indoor spaces, such as shops and classrooms. “With adjustments, the tool can also be used in the future for other infectious diseases”, says Ten Bosch.

Restaurant owners who want to test the OpenSmartTogether tool online can sign up for the pilot via (in Dutch). More information about OpenSmartTogether can be found at (in Dutch).

SamenSlimOpen is financed by ZonMw, the Dutch organisation for health research. Wageningen University & Research, Erasmus MC and TU Delft are working together with partners on initiatives to be better prepared for future pandemics.