Restaurants and schools are turning to hospital-level sanitization tech to fight COVID-19

Technology

UV-C light has long been used by hospitals to keep areas sanitized, now restaurants and schools are turning to similar technology to keep their spaces safe.

We visited The Lark restaurant in Santa Barbara, where they have been using a special UV-C light made by a company named R-Zero.

It looks like it might belong in a nightclub, but the towering, mirrored light could be key to a COVID-free space.

“Fundamentally, it’s the same technology that you see in hospital rooms,” said Eli Harris, president and CEO of R-Zero. Their germ killing machine is called “Arc.”

You wheel it into a space, press a button and it runs a cycle,” said Harris.

A countdown lets you know how long you have to clear the room. Then, the bright light goes to work for several minutes.

“There is no known microorganisms on the planet that is UVC-C resistant,” explained Harris, who proudly tells me that his device is entirely made in the United States. San Jose, so be exact. “This light has the ability to penetrate and innoculate coronavirus, staph, ecoli, MRSA, sars, even the seasonal flu and common cold,” said Harris.

“Guests are fascinated. We kind of display the device in different areas of the building depending on which areas are open,” said Kacey House, general manager of The Lark.

Since dining rooms are closed in California, The Lark is currently focusing on keeping employee areas as safe as possible.

“Bathrooms, break rooms, sort of what we would call back of house areas,” explained House.

“What’s really special is that there are no chemicals,” said Harris.

Since UV-C light can be damaging to the skin, people can’t be in the room when the machine is working. Motion sensors turn it off if someone were to walk in while it’s working.

“I think that every organization is going to have to articulate what they’re doing to keep people safe [in the future], concluded Harris.

Currently, R-Zero is leasing its machines on a monthly basis to organizations. They run several hundred dollars per month. In addition to restaurants and schools, jails have shown a lot of interest.

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