DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released new guidelines for restaurants and food services on Sunday.
As Colorado begins to slowly reopen, restaurants have been awaiting guidance from the state to prepare for dine-in service.
The CDPHE says “the intent of this guidance is to open establishments for the primary purpose of dine-in service, or what is colloquially referred to as ‘restaurants.’ Any establishment that can adhere to the guidelines below and ensure access to food for on-premise consumption can open. The provision of food/meals must be from a licensed retail food establishment.”
The CDPHE notes that other kinds of establishments that do not serve food will be evaluated in June.
FOX31’s Alex Rose spoke with Chris Fuselier who is the owner Blake Street Tavern who says, “I think this is a good step in the right direction. I think most of us, we’re not happy with 50 percent occupancy. We really need to be at 75 percent, but we also understand that we’ve got to open up responsibly and prove that we’re doing the right things.”
The CDPHE says when it comes to outdoor dining service, the restaurant must meet the following requirements.
- Patrons in different parties must be a minimum of 6 feet apart.
- The spacing of tables may need to be 6 feet or more to ensure proper physical distancing between diners from different parties.
- All employees must wear face coverings.
- Restaurants must disinfect and deep-clean all shared surfaces between seatings.
When it comes to dining indoors, the CDPHE says restaurants should follow these guidelines:
- Indoor dine-in service can be held at 50 percent of the posted occupancy code limit and a maximum of 50 patrons
- Patrons in different parties must be a minimum of six feet apart.
- The spacing of tables may need to be six feet or more to ensure proper physical distancing between diners from different parties.
- All employees must wear face coverings.
- Ensure maximum ventilation by opening windows and minimizing air conditioning to the extent possible.
- Deep clean and disinfect all shared surfaces between parties at each turnover.
- Keep parties together, and do not allow multiple parties to mingle with each other
Additionally, the CDPHE says restaurants should make efforts to reduce congregating inside and outside the establishment by doing the following:
- Limit party size to eight people or fewer.
- Encourage reservations, and preferably requiring reservations, if feasible
- Waiting parties must not congregate in entrance areas and should wait in their cars or off premises until seating is available.
- No communal seating.
- No self-service stations or buffets.
- No seat-yourself options to ensure that a table has been disinfected prior to a new patron.
- Do not seat people in the bar if it is being used to prepare food or drink. If the bar area is not being used to prepare food or drink, parties could sit there under the same distancing requirements as a regular table.
- Clearly mark floor and ground to delineate 6 -foot spacing for people in lines, and mark how foot traffic should move.
- Clearly mark closed tables not available for seating customers.
The CDPHE also lists the following guidelines in regards to cleaning and sanitizing:
- Post clear signs notifying patrons and employees of hygiene and sanitation expectations, including not entering if they or anyone in their household is experiencing any symptoms of illness.
- Minimize objects touched by multiple patrons including:
- Remove/close games and dance floors that require or encourage standing around (darts/pool tables/shuffleboard, arcade games); remove board games.
- Discontinue use of tablecloths, or move to single-use, or remove and replace laundered tablecloths between patrons.
- Disinfect any shared objects such as check presenters and POS machines thoroughly between uses.
- Use disposable single-use menus, menu boards, or create online menus for guests to review from their electronic device.
- Provide single-use or single serving condiments.
- Disinfect restrooms every hour.
- Block off stalls and urinals with proper signage to support 6 feet between patrons. This may require reduced bathroom capacity or even only one person in a bathroom at a time.
- Provide hand sanitizer at check-in area and throughout the venue.
When it comes to grading the new guidelines, Fuselier says, “I think the Governor’s office gets an A. They would get an A+ if people could sit at the bar with distancing.”