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COVID-19 Compliance Updates For Restaurants And Bars

Updated: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

(5 - 7 minute read)

The latest COVID-19 updates for restaurants and bars to stay compliant with federal health standards.

Legal Disclaimer: 

The information contained in the documents does not constitute legal advice and should not be applied arbitrarily to other businesses or workplaces. Axios HR bears no responsibility with respect to third party reliance on the recommendations set out herein. All employers should consult with local legal counsel, medical as well as health & safety advisors specific to their jurisdiction and industry in developing strategies applicable to their unique workplaces.

COVID-19 Updates For Restaurants And Bars

Any operating restaurant or bar must (per EO 2020-91):

  • (a) Limit capacity to 50% of normal seating.
  • (b) Require six feet of separation between parties or groups at different tables or bar tops (e.g., spread tables out, use every other table, remove or put up chairs or barstools that are not in use).
  • (c) Create communications material for customers (e.g., signs, pamphlets) to inform them of changes to restaurant or bar practices and to explain the precautions that are being taken to prevent infection.
  • (d) Close waiting areas and ask customers to wait in cars for a call when their table is ready.
  • (e) Close self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, and drink stations.
  • (f) Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least six feet apart in any lines.
  • (g) Post sign(s) at store entrance(s) informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.
  • (h) Post sign(s) instructing customers to wear face coverings until they get to their table.
  • (i) Require hosts and servers to wear face coverings in the dining area.
  • (j) Require employees to wear face coverings and gloves in the kitchen area when handling food, consistent with guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).
  • (k) Limit shared items for customers (e.g., condiments, menus) and clean high contact areas after each customer (e.g., tables, chairs, menus, payment tools, condiments).
  • (l) Train employees on:
    • (1) Appropriate use of personal protective equipment in conjunction with food safety guidelines.
    • (2) Food safety health protocols (e.g., cleaning between customers, especially shared condiments).
    • (3) How to manage symptomatic customers upon entry or in the restaurant.
  • (m) Notify employees if the employer learns that an individual (including an employee, customer, or supplier) with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the store.
  • (n) Close restaurant immediately if an employee shows multiple symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, atypical shortness of breath, atypical cough) and perform a deep clean, consistent with guidance from FDA and the Center for Disease Control. Such cleaning may occur overnight.
  • (o) Require a doctor’s written release to return to work if an employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • (p) Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions at cash registers, bars, host stands, and other areas where maintaining physical distance of six feet is difficult.
  • (q) To the maximum extent possible, limit the number of employees in shared spaces, including kitchens, break rooms, and offices, to maintain at least a six-foot distance between employees.

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