A SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forum and Panel Discussion


What should restaurant-goers take into consideration before reserving that table?
What can restaurateurs do to make indoor dining safer?  

Approximately one year ago, the coronavirus pandemic shut down some of our favorite places to go – bars and restaurants. Frustrated and desperate, restaurateurs have been agile by innovatively reworking their business models, where possible, just to stay open. Take-out, outdoor dining and ghost kitchens helped keep restaurants afloat, but most state and local guidance does not allow 100% occupancy yet.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. With vaccines rolling out and community transmission rates slowly descending, many are anxiously pondering – how safe is it to go out to eat now? 

Listen to a round table discussion with three experts: a buildings expert, a restaurateur and a public health expert who bring perspective and clarity to this complex question. The conversation highlights the factors that contribute to a safer restaurant reopening and dining out experience. Audience members ask the expert panel intriguing questions during the Q&A session. 

Charles Bertuch, P.E., Principal, Bergmann Architects, Engineers and Planners
Bertuch has more than 30 years of professional experience as a consultant and plant engineer. He is currently Principal – Energy Solutions for Bergmann Associates in Syracuse, NY. He holds an M.S degree in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University. Visit Bergmann’s website.

Caitlin Gambee, Co-Owner, The Brewster Inn, Cazenovia, NY
Gambee focuses on many of the important non-culinary aspects of running an award-winning restaurant and inn. She does the day-to-day bookkeeping as well as managing front desk / concierge staff, overseeing the hotel, managing the marina and all of the consumer-facing communications including website, social media, email blasts, etc. Her background is in marketing and events and she previously ran public relations and community relations campaigns for clients including the Boston Celtics, Dunkin’ Donuts and Converse. Visit The Brewster’s website.

Lisa Letteney, P.E., Director, Division of Environmental Health, Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse, NY
Letteney is currently the Director of Environmental Health for the Onondaga County Health Department and has been with the department for over 33 years. She holds an M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and is a NYS licensed P.E. (Professional Engineer). In her Director’s position, she oversees the following programs: Food Protection (Restaurant Inspections), Temporary Residences and Recreational Facilities (Hotel/Motels, swimming pools, beaches, camps), Environmental Lead, Public Water Supply, Septic Systems, Mosquito Control, Rabies, and Tanning. Visit Onondaga County Health Department’s website.

Eric A. Schiff, Ph.D., Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoE and Professor of Physics, Syracuse University

As SyracuseCoE director for the last year, Eric Schiff has been working on ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community. He has many years of experience as a physics professor, a semiconductor and solar cell researcher, a university and government administrator, and an industry consultant. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Visit Schiff’s SyracuseCoE Leadership webpage.