Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City restaurants and bars can reopen for outdoor dining in Phase 2 of reopening (indoor dining is still slated for Phase 3, which would be in July at the earliest). As the city approaches the first phase on June 8th, however, the state’s Department of Health also released guidelines for businesses looking to cater to New Yorkers antsy to dine and drink al fresco (it’s also worth noting that the policies are not clear when it comes to street vendors, such city’s popular food trucks). Here’s what we can expect to see:
Six feet is the magic number
With social distancing in mind, tables are to be spaced at least six-feet apart. But, tables can seat up to 10 guests in one party (who’s part of your pod?). Guests should still be able to enter an establishment to use the restrooms as long as the business is mindful of keeping patrons at a safe distance from one another. Businesses are also required to create working spaces that don’t put employees at risk. Also worth noting: the city council is pushing officials to expand outdoor dining on sidewalks and streets.
Don’t forget a face covering
Unless you’re seated at a table, you must wear a mask or you could be denied service. Employees are required to wear masks at all times, and they’re allowed to suggest that guests wear one unless they’re eating or drinking.
Single-use is encouraged
Restaurants are encouraged to use single-use items for menus and condiment containers. If they don’t, they should be cleaned after each use. Pre-packaged silverware or pre-rolled silverware is also advised to be used.
Restaurants will screen employees
Businesses will be required to conduct screenings of employees before every shift to make sure they haven’t been sick. They can also take the temperature of their workers (without keeping records) but it’s not required. Anyone that exhibited symptoms in the past two weeks would be considered to pose health risk to the public.
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