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Posted Thursday, June 4th, 2020

Rules in Place for Restaurants and Employees

Restaurants across Morris County will be allowed to offer outdoor dining starting on Monday, June 15, as part of Phase Two of Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 recovery plan. It is the same date that in-store retail shopping will be allowed to resume at maximum 50 percent capacity, and for childcare centers to reopen.

However, dining may be quite a different experience than in pre-COVID days, as state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, has announced new restaurant guidelines through the state’s Emergency Health Powers Act.

COVID-19: Outdoor Dining to Start June 15 -- State Sets Guidelines for Dining

For example, customers must be asked to employ social distancing and wear face coverings when they are away from their tables or when they are in the indoor portion of the restaurant and to adhere to proper hygiene practices in the food establishment. Restaurants also will be asked to decline entry to the indoor portion of the establishment to a customer who is not wearing a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason or is a child under age two.

Food or beverage establishments offering service at outdoor areas must first obtain required municipal approvals and permits.

They must adhere to the following protocols:

  • Post signage at entrances stating no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 should enter the establishment;
  • Limit seating to a maximum of eight customers per table and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of six feet between parties;
  • Rope off or otherwise mark tables, chairs and bar stools that are not to be used;
  • Demarcate 6 feet of spacing in patron waiting areas;
  • Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors, sidewalks, and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least six feet apart in line for restrooms or waiting for seating;
  • Eliminate self-service food or drink options such as buffets, salad bars, and self-service drink stations;
  • Disinfect all tables, chairs and other shared items (menus, condiments, pens) after each use;
  • Install physical barriers and partitions at cash registers, bars, host stands and other areas where maintaining physical distance of six feet is difficult;
  • Ensure six feet of physical distancing between workers and customers, except at the moment of payment or when employees are servicing the table;
  • Require infection control practices, such as regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal;
  • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like credit card machines, keypads, and counters to which the public and workers have access;
  • Place conspicuous signage at entrance alerting staff and customers to the required six feet of physical distance;

Food and beverage establishments also must have an inclement weather policy that, if triggered, would require them to temporarily revert to takeout or delivery service only.

Read more specific information on outdoor dining, including guidelines for employees.