Amended Requirements Issued for Georgia Restaurants Seeking to Reopen Dining Rooms

On Tuesday 05/12/20 Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp eased several restrictions for Georgia restaurants that are looking to open dining rooms. The new executive order will go into effect Thursday, May 14th, at midnight ending at 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 31st.

Some of the key amendments of the new orders are as follows:

  • Ten (10) patrons are allowed per 300 square feet of public space. In calculating the total number of public space square feet, such calculation shall include waiting and bar areas as well as patios or any outdoor dining space, if any, but shall not include hallways, restrooms, and spaces closed to patrons. NOTE: The previous executive order allowed for only 10 patrons per 500 square feet
  • Party tables are limited to no more than ten people NOTE: the previous executive order allowed for a maximum of six people per table.

View the full list of requirements for the reopening of restaurant dining rooms below:

(the updates from the previous executive order are in bold):

  1. Screen and evaluate Workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell;
  2. Require Workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention. Per existing U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code requirements, Workers who are sick should remain home. If a worker becomes ill or presents signs of illness at work, the operator should identify the Worker’s condition during a pre-work screening and send the Worker home. Restaurants shall create, maintain, and follow established policies regarding when Workers who have become ill are permitted to return to work. A Worker with known or suspected COVID-19 must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to self-isolate for at least ten (10) days after symptom onset and end isolation only after symptoms have improved and the Worker has been fever-free and/ or symptom-free for three (3) consecutive days without medication before returning to work;
  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 Workers on the importance and expectation of increased frequency of hand washing, the use of hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, and provide clear instruction to avoid touching hands to face;
  7. Require all workers to wear face coverings at all times. Workers may also wear face shields in addition to their face coverings. Such face coverings and face shields 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 workstations to avoid Workers standing adjacent to one another or next to each other. Where six (6) feet of separation is not possible, consider spacing options that include other mitigation efforts with increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing surfaces;
  10. Establish a limit for the maximum number of Workers permitted in Worker break rooms to reduce contact;
  11. Prohibit handshaking and other unnecessary person-to­person contact in the workplace; 1
  12. Enforce Social Distancing of non-cohabitating persons while present on such entity’s leased or owned property;
  13. Increase physical space between Workers and patrons;
  14. Limit contact between wait staff and patrons;
  15. Discard all food items that are out of date;
  16. Discontinue use of salad bars and buffets, unless the salad bar or buffet is being used for cafeteria-style service where a Worker is responsible for serving the patron, handling the utensils, and ensuring proper distancing in lines;
  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 Workers;
  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 Workers and/or patrons;
  20. Between diners, 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 wherever practicable;
  23. The use of disposable paper menus is strongly encouraged, which should be discarded after each patron use. Othenwise, 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 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. Verify that ware-washing machines are operating at the required wash and rinse temperatures and ·with the appropriate detergents and sanitizers;
  27. Update floor plans for common dining areas, redesigning seating arrangements to ensure at least six ( 6) feet of separation from seating to seating. Utilize physical barriers on booth seating when available to ensure Social Distancing;
  28. Limit party size at tables to no more than ten (10);
  29. Where practical, consider a reservations-only business model or call-ahead seating;
  30. Remind third-party delivery drivers 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 person­to-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 services; and
  39. All restaurant or dining room playgrounds shall be closed.

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