The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has infected nearly 33 million people and claimed more than half a million lives in the United States alone. Now, as the number of cases begins to decrease and more individuals are becoming vaccinated, many states are removing their restrictions and allowing private businesses to dictate which COVID-related guidelines to enforce.
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention has also updated its recommendations for vaccinated individuals, stating that vaccinated people can now safely gather indoors with other vaccinated people and with unvaccinated people from a single household.
These changes will affect many industries, but perhaps none so much as the hospitality industry—particularly food service. Many restaurants operate on a thin profit margin and rely on customers gathering inside their buildings and eating together—two activities which were severely restricted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, many states are releasing new guidance and are encouraging restaurants to open to full capacity, which means individual businesses will need to determine their own comfort level with practices such as social distancing and mask wearing.
The CDC has released a list of guidelines for restaurants and bars to limit the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Asking employees who are sick or who have been in close contact with a sick person to stay home.
- Requiring frequent employee handwashing.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces.
- Posting signage about safety laws and health considerations.
- Discouraging sharing of items.
- Promoting touchless payment systems.
- Use disposable service items when possible.
For the full list of CDC recommendations, click here.