Moving Forward: Restaurants & COVID-19

As we approach the summer, many restaurants are beginning to plan for a gradual return to normal operations. We have compiled a list of some key considerations and best practices – particularly those related to management responsibilities, food safety, sanitation, health monitoring, and social distancing.

Management Responsibilities

  • Make sure that a designated person in charge is on site at all times during operating hours.
  • Train employees on any newly established guidelines (in addition to the routine training program); make sure to keep a training log on file. 

Food Safety

  • Ensure that the person in charge of the facility is a certified food safety manager.
  • Discard all food items that are out of date.
  • Place appropriate barriers in open areas to reduce physical contact between employees and guests.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Maintain rigorous cleaning and sanitizing procedures and practices.
    • Between seatings, clean and sanitize all common touch areas and surfaces.
    • Schedule mandatory training that covers all required disinfecting and cleaning practices; keep a record of the material covered and who all attended the session(s).
    • Maintain a daily cleaning log. 

Employee Safety & Health Monitoring

  • Sick Employees
    • Make it clear that employees who are sick must stay home; include in training and ongoing employee communication.
    • If an employee becomes ill while at work, follow current Centers for Disease Control guidance: immediately send the employee home. The employee should self-isolate for ten days from the onset of symptoms and be symptom-free for three days without medication before returning to work.
  • Hand Washing
    • Train all employees on the importance of frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol content, and give them clear instruction to avoid touching hands to face.
  • Protective Equipment
    • Wear a mask or face covering.
    • Follow local health department guidance on the proper use of additional Personal Protective Equipment (i.e. gloves).

Social Distancing

  • Update floor plans for common dining areas, redesigning seating arrangements to ensure at least six feet of separation between table setups.
  • Design a process to ensure guests stay separate while waiting to be seated. The process can include floor markings, outdoor distancing, waiting in cars, etc.
  • Post Signage: 
    • At the entrance, post a sign that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is to be permitted in the restaurant.
    • Post signs throughout the restaurant reminding guests about the importance of social distancing.
    • Post signs that discourage customers from standing or congregating in one place.

Additional Resources

The National Restaurant Association

The information we share on our site is intended to serve as a general overview. Please refer to your policy or contact your local independent agent for specific coverage details.