COLLIER COUNTY, FL. — A local healthcare system is thanking nearby restaurants for their food donations by helping them disinfect their businesses.
NCH Healthcare System donated the use of its Xenex robots to six local restaurants that are preparing to reopen. The robot using a bright, flashing light to "zap" and kill germs.
"The Xenex robot uses pulsed ultraviolet light to disinfect, it kills coronavirus," said Paul Hiltz, President & CEO of NCH Healthcare System.
The robot produces full germicidal spectrum light more intense than sunlight to kill viruses and bacteria in under five minutes.
Thanks to contributions, NCH has been able to purchase nine Xenex robots, and they are used throughout NCH hospitals to keep a sterile environment.
Hiltz says the system uses the robots every day to clean various areas of the hospital — including COVID-19 areas.
Sails Restaurant, Bellini on Fifth, Lake Park Diner, La Colmar, Bill's Café, and New York Pizza & Pasta all have made generous meal donations to NCH staff since the pandemic began. On Monday, NCH donated the use of a Xenex robot to all the restaurants.
"We committed on that same day, that every day we would serve between 300 to 600 high-quality hot dinners every single day," said Veljko Pavicevic, the General Manager at Sails Restaurant.
So far, Sails Restaurant has donated over 8,000 meals.
On Monday, as staff prepared to serve guests after weeks of only take-out, the Xenex robot made sure every inch of the restaurant was cleared of bacteria and viruses.
"It's a great community, great support, great guest, we're grateful," Pavicevic said.
As part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' Coronavirus guidelines restaurants can operate at 25 percent capacity inside, and outside seating has to be spread 6 feet apart.
Michael Melucci, co-owner of Bellini on Fifth, says they're all set to reopen, but the germ-zapping robot is a big help so customers feel reassured.
"We've been cleaning, sterilizing anything that our guests touch, we do have paper disposable menus," Melucci said.
Last week, Bellini donated 400 meals to NCH, and this week they're delivering 300 lunches.
"The community is incredible here, and NCH put themselves at risk for us, it's the least we can do," Melucci said.
Both Sails Restaurant and Bellini on Fifth say they have been getting a lot of reservations already, and are just thankful to all those people helping restaurants get back on their feet.
This story was originally published by Sandra Rodriguez on WFTX in Ft. Myers, Florida.