RELEASED: Restaurant Reopening Guidelines by Federal and State Authorities

As it looks like California will be opening sooner rather than later (a lot sooner, OC is submitting their request for approval today), these guidelines are important to understand and implement quickly for those who serve food and/or drink.

Last week, California released new regulations for restaurants, which will largely apply to bars as well (along with inevitable additional regulations for bars), which can be found here:
Long Guidance:
Short checklist:

The CDC also released new guidance, which can be found here:

These are *both* nicely summarized by the Restaurant Law Center, which can be found here:

Local county guidelines are published here:


No PDF Reader?  No problem.  Below is what is outlined by the RLC, cut and pasted from the doc itself:

State California
Official Orders
and Guidance
• Stay at home order in effect until rescinded
• Phased Roadmap for Recovery
o Dine-in restrictions set to ease in “Expanded” Phase 2 (no date specified)
• Guidance for dine-in restaurants
Dine-In • Restaurants limited to takeout and delivery
Employee PPE • Employers should provide and ensure workers use all required protective equipment, including face coverings and gloves where
• Employers should consider where disposable glove use may be helpful to supplement frequent handwashing or use of hand
sanitizer; examples are for workers who are screening others for symptoms or handling commonly touched items
o Workers should wear gloves when handling items contaminated by body fluids
• Face coverings are strongly recommended when employees are in the vicinity of others
o Workers should have face coverings available and wear them when at work, in offices, or in a vehicle during work-related
travel with others
o Face coverings must not be shared
• Servers, bussers, and other workers moving items used by customers (dirty cups, plates, napkins, etc.) or handling trash bags
should use disposable gloves (and wash hands before putting them on and after removing them) and provide aprons and change
• Dishwashers should use equipment to protect the eyes, nose, and mouth from contaminant splash using a combination of face
coverings, protective glasses, and/or face shields
o Dishwashers must be provided impermeable aprons and change frequently. Reusable protective equipment such as
shields and glasses should be properly disinfected between uses
Employee Health
• 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. Make sure the temperature/symptom screener avoids close contact with workers to the
extent possible. Both screeners and employees should wear face coverings for the screening
• If requiring self-screening at home, which is an appropriate alternative to providing it at the establishment, ensure that screening
was performed prior to the worker leaving the home for their shift and follows CDC guidelines
Customer Health
• 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
• Appropriate signage should also be prominently displayed outlining proper face covering usage and current physical distancing
practices in use at all entrances and throughout the property
Sanitation • Provide disposable menus to guests and make menus available digitally so that customers can view on a personal electronic device,
if possible
o If disposable menus cannot be provided, properly disinfect menus before and after customer use
o Consider options for customers to order ahead of time
• Discontinue pre-setting tables with napkins, cutlery, glassware, food ware, etc.
o These should be supplied individually to customers as needed
o Do not leave card stands, flyers, napkin holders, or other items on tables
• Suspend use of shared food items such as condiment bottles, salt and pepper shakers, etc. and provide these foods in single serve
containers, if possible
o Where this is not possible, shared items such as condiment bottles, shakers, etc., should be supplied as needed to
customers and disinfected after each use
• Pre-roll utensils in napkins prior to use by customers
o Employees must wash hands before pre-rolling utensils in napkins
o The pre-roll should then be stored in a clean container
o After customers are seated, the pre-roll should be put on the table by an employee who recently washed their hands
• Reusable customer items including utensils, food ware, breadbaskets, etc., must be properly washed, rinsed, and sanitized
• Cleaned flatware, stemware, dishware, etc., must be properly stored away from customers and personnel until ready for use
o Use disposable items if proper cleaning of reusable items is infeasible
• Takeout containers must be filled by customers and available only upon request
• Perform thorough cleaning in high traffic areas, such as customer waiting areas and lobbies, break rooms, lunch areas and areas of
ingress and egress including host stands, entry ways, stairways, stairwells, escalators, handrails, and elevator controls
• Frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces including doors, door handles, crash bars, light switches, waiting area chairs, credit
card terminals, ATM PIN pads, receipt trays, bus tubs, serving trays, water pitcher handles, phones, toilets, and handwashing
• Frequently clean items touched by patrons, especially those that might attract contact from children including candy and toy
vending machines, decorative fish tanks, display cases, decorative fountains, etc.
• Dirty linens used at dining tables such as tablecloths and napkins should be removed after each customer use and transported
from dining areas in sealed bags
o Employees should wear gloves when handling dirty linens
• Thoroughly clean each customer dining location after every use
o This will include disinfecting tables, chairs, booster seats, highchairs, booths, etc. and allowing adequate time for proper
disinfection, following product instructions
o Many EPA-approved disinfectants require minimal contact time (seconds to one minute) against human coronavirus
• Close areas where customers may congregate or touch food or food ware items that other guests may use
o Provide these items to guests individually and discard or clean and disinfect after each use, as appropriate.
o This includes but is not limited to:
▪ Self-service areas with condiment caddies, utensil caddies, napkins, lids, straws, water pitchers, to-go containers,
▪ Self-service machines including ice, soda, frozen yogurt dispensers, etc.
▪ Self-service food areas such as buffets, salsa bars, salad bars, etc.
• Clean touchable surfaces between shifts or between users, whichever is more frequent, including but not limited to working
surfaces, phones, registers, touchpads/touchscreens, tablets, timeclocks, appliances, kitchen and bar utensils and implements,
oven doors, grill and range knobs, carts and trolleys, keys, etc.
• Avoid sharing audio equipment, phones, tablets, laptops, desks, pens, and other work supplies wherever possible
• Discontinue shared use of audio headsets and other equipment between employees unless the equipment can be properly
disinfected after use
o Consult equipment manufacturers to determine appropriate disinfection steps, particularly for soft, porous surfaces such
as foam earmuffs
• Provide time for workers to implement cleaning practices during their shift. Cleaning assignments should be assigned during
working hours as part of the employees’ job duties
• Procure options for third-party cleaning companies to assist with the increased cleaning demand, as needed
• Equip spaces such as dining rooms, bar areas, host stands, and kitchens with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer
and sanitizing wipes to all staff directly assisting customers
• Ensure that sanitary facilities stay operational and stocked at all times and provide additional soap, paper towels, and hand
sanitizer when needed
• When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should use products approved for use against COVID-19 on the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)-approved list and follow product instructions
o Use disinfectants labeled to be effective against emerging viral pathogens, diluted household bleach solutions (5
tablespoons per gallon of water), or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol that are appropriate for the surface
o Provide employees training on manufacturer’s directions and Cal/OSHA requirements for safe use
o Workers using cleaners or disinfectants should wear gloves as required by the product instructions
• Restaurants should increase fresh air circulation by opening windows or doors, if possible to do so
• Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and
making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in all working areas
• Discontinue tableside food preparation and presentation such as food item selection carts and conveyor belts, guacamole
preparation, etc.
• Do not leave out after-meal mints, candies, snacks, or toothpicks for customers; offer them with the check or provide only on
• Install hand sanitizer dispensers, touchless if possible, at guest and employee entrances and contact areas such as driveways,
reception areas, in dining rooms, near elevator landings, etc.
• Discontinue use of shared entertainment items such as board games, pool tables, arcade games, vending machines, etc
o Close game and entertainment areas where customers may share items such as bowling alleys, etc.
• Continue to follow existing codes regarding requirements for sanitizing (rather than disinfecting) food contact surfaces
Distancing and
• Remove tables and chairs from dining areas so that six feet of physical distance can be maintained for customers and employees
o If tables, chairs, booths, etc., cannot be moved, use visual cues to show that they are not available for use or install
Plexiglas or other types of impermeable physical barriers to minimize exposure between customers
• Bar areas should remain closed to customers
• Discontinue seating of customers where customers cannot maintain six feet of distance from employee work and food and drink
preparation areas
• Adjust maximum occupancy rules inside the establishment based on its size to limit the number of people inside and/or use
impermeable barriers between service tables to protect customers from each other and employees
o For outdoor seating, maintain physical distancing standards outlined above
• Limit the number of patrons at a single table to a household unit or patrons who have asked to be seated together
o People in the same party seated at the same table do not have to be six feet apart
o All members of the party must be present before seating and hosts must bring the entire party to the table at one time
• Limit the number of employees serving individual parties, in compliance with wage and hour regulations
• 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
o All restaurant workers should minimize the amount of time spent within six feet of guests
• Close breakrooms, use barriers, or increase distance between tables/chairs to separate workers and discourage congregating
during breaks
o Where possible, create outdoor break areas with shade covers and seating that ensures physical distancing
• Reconfigure kitchens to maintain physical distancing in those areas where practical and if not practical staggers shifts if possible to
do work ahead of time
• Discourage food preparation employees from changing or entering others’ work stations during shifts
• Discourage employees from congregating in high traffic areas such as bathrooms, hallways, bar areas, reservation and credit card
terminals, etc.
• Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between workers and customers
o This can include use of physical partitions or visual cues (e.g., floor markings or signs to indicate to where employees
and/or guests should stand)
• Install physical barriers or partitions at cash registers, bars, host stands, and other areas where maintaining physical distance of six
feet is difficult
• Any area where guests or employees queue should also be clearly marked for appropriate physical distancing
o This includes check-stands and terminals, deli counters and lines, restrooms, elevator lobbies, host stands and waiting
areas, valet drop off and pickup, and any other area where customers congregate
• Physical distancing protocols should be used in any office areas, kitchens, pantries, walk-in freezers, or other high-density, hightraffic employee areas
o Face coverings are required where employees cannot maintain physical distancing including in kitchens, storage areas,
• Employee pre-shift meetings and trainings should be conducted virtually or in areas that allow for appropriate physical distancing
between employees
o Food, beverages, food ware, etc., should not be shared
• Prioritize outdoor seating and curbside pickup to minimize cross flow of customers in enclosed environments
o Restaurants can expand their outdoor seating, and alcohol offerings in those areas, if they comply with local laws and
• Provide takeout, delivery, and drive through options for customers when possible
• Encourage reservations to allow for time to disinfect restaurant areas and provide guidance via digital platforms if possible to
customers for physical distancing while at the restaurant
• Consider allowing dine-in customers to order ahead of time to limit the amount of time spent in the establishment
• Ask customers to wait in their cars or away from the establishment while waiting to be seated
o If possible, alert patrons through their mobile phones when their table is ready to avoid touching and use of “buzzers.”
• Establish directional hallways and passageways for foot traffic, if possible, to eliminate employees from passing by one another
• Require employees to avoid handshakes and similar greetings that break physical distance
• Eliminate person-to-person contact for delivery of goods whenever possible
o Designate drop-off locations to receive deliveries away from high traffic areas
o Maintain physical distance of at least six feet with delivery drivers
o 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
• Implement peak period queueing procedures, including a host to remind guests to queue with at least six feet of distance between
parties outside or in waiting areas
• Takeout food items should be made available using contactless pick-up and delivery protocols
Changes to
Payment Systems
• N/A
• 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
o 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
o Whenever possible, the rules should be available digitally, include pictograms, and included on/with menus
• Establish a written, worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plan at every location, perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all
work areas, and designate a person at each establishment to implement the plan
• Identify contact information for the local health department where the restaurant is located for communicating information about
COVID-19 outbreaks among employees or customers
• Train and communicate with employees and employee representatives on the plan
• Regularly evaluate the establishment for compliance with the plan and document and correct deficiencies identified
Local Exceptions • The following counties have petitioned to move to phase 2 of the reopening plan: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado,
Glenn, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Benito, Shasta, Sierra, Tehama, Tuolumne, Yuba-Sutter
• More information and county specific restaurant reopening plans can be found here



About Mike Glenn

Mike is the founder and publisher of Save Newport and Chair of Government Relations for the Elks Lodge. He writes, shoots photos, and edits, but much of the time, he's just "the IT guy". He can be reached at: Google+, Facebook, or via email, at