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Here's what dining out looks like in Virginia during Phase One reopening

Posted at 2:42 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 14:50:10-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northan announced Wednesday that Virginia would begin Phase One of its reopening on Friday in all regions of the state with the exception of Northern Virginia. Here’s what that means for dining out.

Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, cideries, mobile units (food trucks), distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must implement the following mandatory requirements or close:

  • Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment.
  • Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high-risk individuals, and staying home if sick.
  • Occupancy must be limited to no more than 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable, while maintaining a minimum of six feet of physical distancing between all individuals as much as possible.
  • Provide a minimum of six feet between parties at tables, (i.e., the six feet cannot include the space taken up by the seated guest). If tables are not movable, seat parties at least six feet apart. Spacing must also allow for physical distancing from areas 6 outside of the facility’s control (i.e. provide physical distancing from persons on public sidewalks).
  • Do not seat parties of more than 10 patrons. All parties, whether seated together or across multiple tables, must be limited to 10 patrons or less.
  • Do not seat multiple parties at any one table unless marked with six foot divisions (such as with tape).
  • Bar seats and congregating areas of restaurants must be closed to patrons except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in the outdoor bar area (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating as long as a minimum of six feet is provided between parties at tables.
  • Keep game areas, dance floors, and playgrounds closed. If live musicians are performing at an establishment, they must remain at least six feet from patrons and staff.
  • Employees working in customer dining and service areas are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as using CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.
  • Use single-use disposable menus (e.g., paper) and discard after each customer. Reusable menus are not permitted in Phase 1. Refilling food and beverage containers or implements brought in by customers is not allowed in Phase 1.
  • Prior to each shift, employers should ask that the employee self-measure their temperature and assess symptoms. Please see VDH Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers During Widespread Community Transmission.
  • No self-service of food (except beverages), including condiments. Condiments must be removed from tables and dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer. Buffets must be staffed by servers. For self-service beverage areas, use beverage equipment designed to dispense by a contamination-free method.
  • Perform thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces including digital ordering devices, check presenters, self-service areas, tabletops, bathroom surfaces, and other common touch areas every 60 minutes during operation. Tabletops and credit card/bill folders must be disinfected between patrons.
  • Table resets must be done by an employee who has washed their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds just prior to reset activities.
  • Only 10 patrons may wait for takeout in the lobby area at one time.

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