Here are the guidelines Illinois issued for bars and restaurants looking to re-open. Get familiar with them as a failure to meet these minimum standards could amount to trouble from regulators and grounds for liability from customers or employees that get sick.
As part of Illinois’s path to re-opening those businesses shut-down or limited by Illinois’s stay at home orders, the state government, through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, has released guidelines for a multitude of businesses and business settings to implement in order to re-open.
There are plans and kits for retailers, manufacturers, offices, salons, spas, fitness centers, camps, and bars and restaurants, to name a few.
The guidelines for bars and restaurants are extensive and you should review them prior to designing and considering your plans for re-opening to ensure compliance as deviations from the guidelines might not just amount to potential issues with regulators. Given the lack of current immunity from claims for injury to customers or by employees, failure to follow the guidelines could be utilized as grounds for a breach of a standard of care – a threshold common to claims for monetary relief for injury.
The guidelines detail that outdoor dining and drinking with parties of 6 or less is the only method of service allowed for in-person on-premise consumption in the upcoming Phase 3 portion of Illinois’s phased re-opening plan. The guidelines note that additional regulations on outdoor activities by units of local government and health departments should also be expected (this is in addition to the current FDA, CDC and OSHA guidelines, some of which the Illinois’s guidelines reference and link to.
Some important points, but by no means an exhaustive list of issues an illinois bar or restaurant will need to understand:
- Employees need to wear face coverings and gloves and seating should have a minimum of 6 feet between tables – use of plexiglass between tables is recommended as a best practice.
- Frequent handwashing and supplies to accomplish the same are a responsibility of the establishment.
- All employees should complete health and safety training related to COVID-19 and employers need to make temperature checks available and implement a wellness screening program. Those in contact with those diagnosed are to be quarantined as well.
- Signage should be displayed in your bar or restaurant (see this toolkit) regarding face coverage, cleaning, and social distancing.
- Table presets (reusable menus, salt & pepper, non-disposable silverware etc.) should be eliminated.
- Customers should handle their own leftovers.
- CDC protocols for cleaning – and clean common high-traffic areas every half-hour. Disinfect between seating parties.
- You’ll want to screen supplier delivery personnel and you need to keep a log of all personnel from suppliers that visit for deliveries.
And just in case you were curious about the litany of other materials you’d be irresponsible not to review…
- FDA: Food Safety and COVID-19
- FDA: Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery During COVID-19
- FDA: Use of Respirators, Facemasks, and Cloth Face Coverings in the Food and Agriculture Sector During Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic
- FDA: Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
- CDC: What Grocery and Food Retail Workers Need to Know about COVID-19
- CDC: COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Employers
- CDC: Restaurants and Bars Reopening Decision Tree
- CDC: COVID-19 Printed Resources
- IDPH: COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Organizations
- IDPH: Guidance for Maintaining Water Systems During Reduced Use and Returning Water Systems to Regular Use after Extended Periods of Reduced Use
- IDPH: Retail Food Page and Food Codes
- Illinois Department of Human Services: FAQ for Businesses Concerning Use of Face-Coverings During COVID-19
- EPA: List of EPA-registered Disinfectants
- AFDO: Planning for Reopening Food Service Establishments As COVID-19 Impacts Best Practices and Protocol
- OSHA: Guidance of Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- National Restaurant Association: COVID-19 Reopening Guidance: A Guide for the Restaurant Industry