bay area restaurants reopening guidelines

Bay Area Restaurants Reopening Guidelines & Dates Will Vary From County to County

The California Restaurant Association reports that California state has announced reopening guidelines affecting all restaurants. The guidelines serve as a basis but additional restrictions and guidelines are being issued county-by-county. The state indicated that depending on how well retail establishments relaunch, May 18 might be the reopening date. Otherwise, dining reopenings will be decided on a county-by-county basis as regions reach key COVID-19 milestones.

Guidelines that restaurants will have to follow to reopen include:

  • Contents of Written Worksite Specific Plan
  • Employee Training
  • Individual Control Measures & Screening
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols
  • Physical Distancing Guidelines

The key protection provisions include:

  • Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible,
  • Use of face coverings by employees (where respiratory protection is not
  • required) and customers/clients,
  • Frequent hand washing and regular cleaning and disinfection,
  • Training employees on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan.

Additional highlights from the guidelines include:

  • Restaurants must “provide disposable menus to guests and make menus available digitally so that customers can view on a personal electronic device, if possible.” If disposable or digital menus are not available, then menus must be properly disinfected each time they are used.
  • Restaurants must avoid setting tables with napkins, cutlery, glasses, plates, etc. Moreover, card stands, flyers, napkin holders must also be avoided.
  • Condiments that are shared may no longer be used. Single use packets are permissible. Where not possible, shared items such as condiment bottles, shakers, etc., should be supplied as requested to customers and disinfected after each use.
  • “Takeout containers must be filled by customers and available only upon request.”
  • Tablecloths and napkins must be removed after each customer use and transported from dining areas in sealed bags. Employees should wear gloves when handling dirty linens.
  • Restaurants must also “discontinue table-side food preparation and presentation” such as dim sum carts, sushi conveyor belts, guacamole preparation, etc.

While restaurants are able to open, bars, pubs & wineries are not able to open yet unless they also offer food. Bars and breweries are also able to contract with food vendors to provide dine-in meals so long as alcohol is sold in the same transactions as meals.

Detailed information regarding reopening your restaurant can be found in this publication by Cal-OSHA and Department of Public Health. A shorter, practical checklist can be found here.

For additional resources, check out the California Restaurant Association’s Small Business Resource list.

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