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May 27, 2020

10 Things You Must Do To Re-Open Your Bar Or Restaurant During Covid-19

As restaurants and bars resume operations in some areas, owners are looking to the CDC for guidance on keeping their customers and employees safe. Throughout this post we will highlight ten of the most important guidelines to keep in mind when preparing to open your doors to the public.

  1. Understand Your Risk Level:

It’s important to keep in mind that the longer your employees interact with customers, the risk of contracting Covid-19 increases. Below you will find the risks levels outlined by the CDC:

  • Lowest Risk: Food service limited to drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pickup.
  • More Risk:  Drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick up emphasized. On-site dining limited to outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Even More Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced to allow tables to be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
  • Highest Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity not reduced and tables not spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Maintain A Healthy Work Environment 

  1. Encourage Hand Hygiene: Require employees to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Employees should follow all of the same handwashing guidelines for preparing/handling food, along with any time employees interact with a customer. It’s also recommended to place hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol at employee stations where they may make contact with contaminated surfaces or interact directly with customers. Click here to purchase our recommended hand sanitizer options.
  2. Utilize Physical Barriers: The CDC recommends that bars and restaurants install physical barriers like sneeze guards or clear partitions in areas where it’s difficult to remain at least 6 feet apart. For more information on installing a physical barrier at your workplace you can click here to view SeparationScreen, the cough screen and sneeze guard virus barrier. The SeparationScreen was specifically designed with a 14” passthrough, allowing carry-out orders or products to safely pass through, without risking direct person-to-person contact.
  3. Provide Cloth Face Coverings Or Masks to Employees: Require the use of masks or face coverings among all staff is possible. Face coverings are the most essential form of PPE you can provide your staff when physical distancing is difficult. You can click here to shop our available masks and face coverings.
  4. Modify Layouts & Procedures:  It’s recommended to modify the layout of your establishment to ensure your guests can remain at least 6 feet apart. If you do decide to open your restaurant or bar up for dine-in service and have a wait, it’s recommended to also ask customers to wait in their cars until their table is available.
  1. Prepare A Contingency Plan

Until a vaccine is readily available  for Covid-19, the CDC recommends employers have a plan in place if an employee becomes sick. You can follow these guidelines below when preparing for sick employees:

  1. Advise Sick Employees of Your Home Isolation Criteria: Communicate to your employees that they should not return to work until the meet the CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation 
  2. Isolate Those Who Are Sick: Designate a primary point of contact at your workplace if an employee begins to feel ill at work. If an employee begins to feel sick, immediately separate the employee from other co-workers and customers, and decide if they need to be moved to a healthcare facility or to self-isolate at home. 
  3. Clean & Disinfect: Close off areas used by the sick person until they can be properly cleaned. You should wait at least 24 hours before cleaning if possible, Ensure whoever will be cleaning the area has the proper personal protective equipment and a CDC approved disinfectant. We recommend Wex-Cide healthcare disinfectant you can purchase it here.
  4. Create a Plan That Works For Your Workplace: Every contingency plan should be different, do not simply copy a plan from another business. It’s important that both you and your employees feel safe and understand the plan in place. 

Ultimately the decision on when you open your business and to what capacity is up to you and your local health officials. It’s important to understand their guidelines and make your decision based on what is feasible, practicable, acceptable and tailored to the needs of your community.