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Newsom to detail guidelines for reopening dine-in restaurants


Governor Gavin Newsom released the guidelines for reopening dine-in restaurants across California during Tuesday's coronavirus update briefing.

Guildelines for restaurants include:

  • Establishing a workplace-specific plan to prevent coronavirus spread
  • Employee training, including how to self-screen at home and proper steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus
  • Provide temperature and/or symptom screenings for all workers at the beginning of their shift and any vendors, contractors, or other workers entering the establishment
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting
    • Frequently clean items touched by patrons, especially those that might attract contact from children
    • Clean touchable surfaces between shifts or between user
    • Equip spaces such as dining rooms, bar areas, host stands, and kitchens with proper sanitation products
    • Restaurants should increase fresh air circulation by opening windows or doors, if possible to do so.
    • Provide disposable menus to guests and make menus available digitally
    • Suspend the use of shared food items such as condiment bottles, salt, and pepper shakers, etc. and provide these foods in single-serve containers
    • Pre-roll utensils in napkins prior to use by customers

Watch: Riverside County Supervisor Manny Perez discusses whether the county could reopen more businesses before the state

  • Establish physical distance guidelines
    • Prioritize outdoor seating and curbside pickup to minimize cross flow of customers in enclosed environments
    • Encourage reservations to allow for time to disinfect restaurant areas
    • Ask customers to wait in their cars or away from the establishment while waiting to be seated
    • Reconfigure office spaces, lobbies, beverage bars, kitchens and workstations, host stand areas, and other spaces wherever possible to allow for at least six feet of distance between people dining, working, and passing through areas for entry and exit.
    • Bar areas should remain closed to customers.
    • Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all employees, however, they are required for any employee (e.g., server, manager, busser, food runner, etc.) who must be within six feet of customers
    • Guests should enter through doors that are propped open or automated, if possible. Hand sanitizer should be available for guests who must touch door handles
  • Display a set of clearly visible rules for customers and restaurant personnel at the restaurant entrance(s) that are to be a condition of entry.
    • The rules could include instructions to use hand sanitizer, maintain physical distance from other customers, avoid unnecessary touching of restaurant surfaces, contact information for the local health department, and changes to restaurant services. Whenever possible, the rules should be available digitally, include pictograms, and included on/with menus
    • Guests and visitors should be screened for symptoms upon arrival, asked to use hand sanitizer, and to bring and wear a face covering when not eating or drinking.
    • Licensed restaurants may sell “to-go” alcoholic beverages, prepared drinks, and pre-mixed cocktails provided they are sold and delivered to customers in conjunction with the sale and delivery of a meal/meals.

Key prevention practices include:

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

Read the full guidelines for dine-in restaurants here

Many California restaurants have had their doors closed to in-person diners for about two months now. The guidelines would establish what restaurants need to do to safely open their doors to customers again and provide a sit-down dining experience. 

The changes that will be in place to act as safeguards against the virus will probably mean things will be a lot different from what customers are used to. The California Restaurant Association has drafted a list of recommendations for restaurants that would allow them to open with certain changes in place. 

Looking at those recommendations, it could mean family members or people who live together would have to sit at the same table. Buffets, salad bars and shared bread baskets would no longer be offered. Salt and Pepper shakers could be replaced by bottles of hand sanitizer. And meals could arrive from food servers wearing protective face coverings. 

The association wants Newsom to set only broad guidelines encompassing four areas: employee health, social distancing, public education and improved sanitation and disinfection. And then cities and counties would have the authority to determine the rules in each specific category, arguing that what makes sense in each location could vary by city. 

This list of recommendations is going to be submitted to Governor Newsom on Thursday for review.

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Madison Weil


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