Restaurants Must Follow Strict Protocols When They Reopen


 Restaurants reopen

Restaurants will be allowed to provide outdoor dining services. Later on, they will be allowed to resume indoor dining services with several restrictions in place. Some of those restrictions include prohibiting patrons from sitting at bars and keeping tables at least six feet apart. Here are the workplace safety standards they must follow as they reopen.

Social Distancing

When indoor table service is permitted, restaurants are encouraged to structure operations to operate as much as possible through outdoor table service and to strictly limit indoor table service in order to assure effective compliance with social distancing requirements and to limit activities within confined spaces

Restaurants must comply with the following sector-specific social distancing rules for providing dining services in all customer seating areas:

Tables must be positioned so to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas (e.g., routes to bathrooms, entrances, exits); tables may be positioned closer if separated by protective / non-porous barriers (e.g., structural walls or plexi-glass dividers) not less than 6 feet high installed between tables and high foot traffic areas.

The size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed 6 people

Restaurants may not seat any customers at the bar, but subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be re-configured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards.

All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited.

Restaurants may provide carry-out or delivery service, but all safety standards for table separation, size of party, and hygiene must be maintained for any indoor or outdoor table seating that is available to carry-out patrons.

All other amenities and areas not employed for food and beverage service (e.g., dance floors, pool tables, playgrounds, etc.) must be closed or removed to prevent gathering of customers.

Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between all individuals (workers, vendors, and customers) unless this creates a safety hazard due to the nature of the work or the configuration of the workspace:

Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas) to allow 6 feet of physical distancing; redesign work stations to ensure physical distancing (e.g., separate tables, stagger workstations on either side of processing lines so workers are not face-to-face, use distance markers to assure spacing including in the kitchen area)

Establish directional hallways and passageways for foot traffic if possible, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to the restaurant). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies.

Prohibit lingering in common areas (e.g., waiting areas, bathrooms) and ensure social distancing in common areas by marking 6 feet spacing with tape or paint on the floor and signage.

All customer-facing workers (e.g., servers, bus staff) must minimize time spent within 6 feet of customers.

Designate assigned working areas to workers where possible to limit movement throughout the restaurant and limit contact between workers (e.g., assigning zones to servers).

Stagger work schedules and staff meal and break times, regulating maximum number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing.

Minimize the use of confined spaces (e.g., elevators, vehicles) by more than one individual at a time

Require face coverings for all customers and workers at all times, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to medical condition or disability.

Recommended best practices

Improve ventilation for enclosed spaces where possible (e.g., open doors and windows).

Customers may remove face coverings while seated at tables.

Hygiene Protocols

All workers must wash their hands frequently, and table servers must wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer between each table interaction.

Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, and allow sufficient break time for workers to wash hands frequently; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances, exits, and in the dining area.

Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes).

Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers and customers of hygiene and safety protocols.

Self-serve, unattended buffets, topping bars, drink stations, and other communal serving areas must remain closed.

Condiments and similar products (e.g., salt, pepper, and salad dressing) should not be pre-set on tables and should instead only be provided upon request either in single-serving portions (e.g., individual packages or cups) or in serving containers that are sanitized between each use.

Menus must be one of the following: 1) paper, single-use menus disposed after each use, 2) displayed menu (e.g., digital, whiteboard, chalkboard), 3) electronic menus viewed on customers’ phones / mobile devices.

Utensils and place settings must be either single-use or sanitized after each use; utensils should be rolled or packaged. Tables should not be pre-set to reduce opportunity for exposure.

Tables and chairs must be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly between each seating.

Staffing and Operations

When possible, reservations or call ahead seating should be encouraged; managers must ensure that diners waiting for tables do not congregate in common areas or form lines.

Restaurants may not provide customers with buzzers or other devices to provide alerts that seating is available or orders are ready; restaurants should instead use no-touch methods such as audio announcements, text messaging, and notices on fixed video screens or blackboards.

Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:

Social distancing, hand-washing, and requirement and proper use of face coverings

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