Restaurants Looking to Reopen Dining Rooms April 27 Must Adhere To These 39 State-Issued Guidelines

New 26-page 'Reviving a Healthy Georgia' Executive Order outlines reopening requirements.
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Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday issued an Executive Order entitled “Reviving a Healthy Georgia” aimed at reopening the state amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in the order is an outline of the requirements for the reopenings of restaurant dining rooms and theatres, which can take place starting Monday, April 27.

The 26-page order spells out 39 guidelines restauranteurs must adhere to when reopening:

  1. Screen and evaluate workers who exhibit signs of illness such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath.
  2. Require workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention.
  3. Implement teleworking for all possible workers.
  4. Implement staggered shifts for all possible workers.
  5. Hold all meetings and conferences virtually, whenever possible.
  6. Train all employees on the importance and expectation of increased frequency of handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, and provide clear instruction to avoid. touching hands to face.
  7. Require all employees to wear face coverings at all times. Such coverings shall be cleaned or replaced daily.
  8. Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
  9. Where possible, stagger work stations to avoid employees standing adjacent to one another or next to each other. Where six feet of separation is not possible consider spacing options that include other mitigation efforts with increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.
  10. Establish limit numbers to reduce contact in employee breakrooms.
  11. Prohibit handshaking and other unnecessary person to person contact in the workplace.
  12. Enforce social distancing of non-cohabiting. persons while present on such entities leased or owned property.
  13. Increase physical space between workers and patrons.
  14. Limit contact between waitstaff and patrons.
  15. Discard all food items that are out of date.
  16. Discontinue the use of salad bars and buffets.
  17. If providing a grab-and-go service, stock coolers to no more than minimum levels.
  18. Ensure the food safety manager certification of the person in charge is up to date and provide food handler training to refresh employees.
  19. Thoroughly detail, clean and sanitize the entire facility prior to resuming dine-in services and continue to do so regularly, focusing such cleaning and sanitation on high contact areas that would be touched by employees and patrons.
  20. Between dinners, clean and sanitize table condiments, digital ordering devices, check presenters, self-service areas, tabletops, and commonly touched areas, and discarding single-use items.
  21. Use rolled silverware and eliminate table presets.
  22. remove items from self-service drink, condiment, utensil, and tableware stations and have workers provide such items to patrons directly whenever practicable.
  23. The use of disposable paper menus is strongly encouraged, which should be discarded after each patron use otherwise, businesses subject to this section shall clean and sanitize reusable menus between each use by a patron. Non-touch menus are also acceptable for use.
  24. Clean and sanitize restrooms regularly, check restrooms based on the frequency of use, and ensure an adequate supply of soap and paper towels at all times.
  25. Implement procedures to increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of surfaces in the back-of-house. Avoid all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants.
  26. Check restrooms regularly and clean and sanitize base on the frequency of use.
  27. update floor plans for common dining areas, redesigning seating arrangement to ensure at least six feet of separation from seating to seating. Utilize physical barriers on booth seating when available.
  28. Limit party size at tables to no more than six.
  29. Where practical, consider a reservation-only business model or call-ahead seating.
  30. Remind third-party delivery driver and any suppliers of your internal distancing requirements.
  31. Post signage on entrances that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted in the facility.
  32. Where practicable, physical barriers such as partitions or Plexiglas at registers should be used.
  33. Use technological solutions where possible to reduce person-to-person interaction: mobile ordering, mobile access to menus to plan in advance, text on arrival for seating, and contactless payment options.
  34. Provide hand sanitizer for use by patrons, including contactless hand sanitizing stations when available.
  35. Do not allow patrons to congregate in waiting areas or bar areas. Design a process to ensure patron separation while waiting to be seated that can include floor markings, outdoor distancing, or waiting in cars.
  36. If possible, use an exit from the facility separate from the entrance.
  37. Mark ingress/egress to and from restrooms to establish paths that mitigate proximity for patrons and staff.
  38. Where practicable, take-out, and curbside pick-up services should be prioritized over dine-in service.
  39. All restaurant or dining room playgrounds shall be closed.


Kemp’s office on Wednesday released similar guidelines for the reopening of wellness and beauty businesses that are allowed to reopen starting Friday, April 24.

President Trump yesterday said he “strongly disagreed” with the decision because those businesses did not fall within the White House’s “Phase One” reopening guidelines.

Most of Atlanta’s restaurant operators don’t plan on reopening dining rooms next week but there is a handful ready to take the plunge after nearly being shuttered a month.


[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]

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