Tips on Re-opening Restaurants (in stages and safely)
I know for me, the day our restaurants open for dine-in will be reason to celebrate. I miss restaurants so much, I may go out to eat and never come home. But the road from here (take-out only) to there (slow, leisurely meals, with bottles of wine and friends crowded around the table) is going to be a long one for sure. With reports that we could see a second wave of the virus in the fall, and warnings about lifting social distancing measures too soon, the prudent course is to stay safe, rather than begin the hammer and the dance—re-opening only to have to close again in a few weeks' time.
Our friends at the NYC Hospitality Alliance have released this guide to re-opening restaurants from the law firm Fox Rothschild that goes through all the nitty gritty of when, how, and in what stages to re-open for dine-in. It includes tips on when and how to rehire, how to clean, how to distance tables, as well as important guidelines from the CDC, Mayor and Governor on overall practices. The guide also provides recommendations on PPE, hand-washing, shift-staggering, and goes into detail about the appropriate methods of checking the health of employees and guests, establishing non-discriminatory temperature and symptom checks. The guide reads:
"Post signage at the entrance stating that persons with a fever and/or other COVID-19 symptoms are not permitted inside the restaurant Consider implementing a regular practice of taking temperatures of all employees and guests and inquiring about CDC designated symptoms before entering premises Symptoms currently include: cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fever; chills; repeated shaking with chills; muscle pain; headache; sore throat; and new loss of taste or smell (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ symptoms-testing/symptoms.html) Screen everyone or no one and do not inquire beyond the aforementioned symptoms or as may be revised by the CDC You may send employees home or refuse service to guests as long as not for an unlawful or discriminatory reason."
While all of these measures may seem alarming, and the number of businesses that will be lost in the process is too depressing to even think about, we will come back. It will take time, and it may look different at first, but we will come together around the table again. We will.