May 8, 2020
Authored by: Ashlee Difuntorum
On April 24, 2020, Alaska became the first state to allow restaurants to reopen to dine-in customers (subject to certain precautions) since the COVID-19 pandemic began. On April 27, 2020, Georgia and Tennessee followed suit. Several other states have announced similar plans to reopen restaurants to dine-in customers throughout May.
Each state has its own requirements for re-opening, and many include some combination of the following restrictions: 1) workers must wear masks; 2) restaurants can only allow outdoor dining; 3) establishments can only be filled to a certain capacity (typically 25% or 50%); 4) reservation-only dining; and 5) hand sanitizer must be available at each table or at the restaurant’s entrance.
In light of these re-openings, we suggest that companies in the food retail industry consider the following, if they have not done so already:
- Determine whether it is financially feasible to reopen if required to comply with the guidance set forth in the applicable order(s), or, if located in a state that has not yet provided rules for re-opening, consider which requirements would or would not be feasible.
- Determine what supplies and goods will be required to reopen and develop a plan for sourcing the same.
- Determine whether any physical modifications to the business will be required (i.e. barriers or screening between employees and customers and the spacing of payment terminal and cash registers).
- Consider developing a process for providing temperature screening for employees who are showing signs of illness and review sick leave policies in order to