Thursday, May 14, 2020

State Releases Dining-in Guidelines for Restaurants

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2020 at 7:06 AM

Gov. Gavin Newsom has posted the state's COVID-19 Industry Guidance for dine-in restaurant service once California's shelter-in-place order eases to allow it. The 12-page document by the California Department of Public Health and Cal Osha advises restaurants to — among a myriad of cleaning, training and serving practices — "continue to encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible."

Employees will need to screen fellow employees and vendors for temperatures and symptoms upon entering the building. Likewise, "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."

Oberon Grill's pre-shelter in place arrangement to allow social distancing. - FILE
  • File
  • Oberon Grill's pre-shelter in place arrangement to allow social distancing.

Meant to give "guidance for dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, craft distilleries, breweries, bars, pubs and wineries to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers," the guidelines suggest ways to sanitize surfaces, avoid close contact between employees and customers, and minimize the time customers spend in the establishment.

The guidelines urge limiting tables to include members of a single household, reconfiguring dining rooms and kitchens to allow 6 feet of distance between staff and customers alike, and encouraging spacious outdoor seating. Bars, a serious moneymaker for many restaurants, are to be closed off and the number of tables (and therefore dining checks) is to be reduced. Whether the requirements aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 are financially feasible for restaurants with already slim margins remains to be seen.

Read the full guidelines here
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Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal.

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