New restaurant guidelines issued

By TOM SCANLON
Foothills Focus Staff Writer

The Maricopa County Department of Health Services provided the following guidelines for people who plan to dine in restaurants:

• Stay home if sick.

• Consider ordering food for delivery or curbside pickup, if available.

• Protect yourself while dining at restaurants.

• Stay at least 6 feet away from others while dining.

• When you do dine-in, consider dining during off-peak hours (for example, early morning, mid-afternoon or late night).

• If you are at a higher risk for severe illness, continue to use takeout and delivery and avoid dine-in services at restaurants. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.

• Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

• If possible, use touchless payment (pay without touching money, a card or a keypad). If you must handle money, a card or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer immediately after.

• Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you eat and again when you are finished.

• After leaving the restaurant, use hand sanitizer. When you get home, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Guidelines provided by the county to restaurants:

• Consider assigning duties to vulnerable workers that minimize their contact with customers and other employees.

• Enforce hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes.

• Develop standards for the use of nonmedical-grade masks or cloth face coverings by employees when near other employees and customers.

• Ensure adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene practices for employees and customers, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (perhaps on every table, if supplies allow), and tissues.

• Consider posting signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, properly wash hands, promote everyday protective measures and properly wear a face covering.

• Intensify cleaning, disinfection and ventilation practices.

• Wash, rinse and sanitize food contact surfaces, food preparation surfaces and beverage equipment after use.

• Avoid using or sharing items such as menus, condiments and any other food. Instead, use disposable or digital menus, single-serving condiments, and no-touch trash cans and doors.

• Wipe any pens, counters or hard surfaces between use or customer.

• Train all employees in the aforementioned safety actions.

The Department of Health Services recommends the following additional steps be taken by restaurants:

• Maintain physical distancing, including limiting parties to no more than 10.

• Operate with reduced occupancy and capacity based on the size of the business location with special attention to limiting areas where customers and employees can congregate.

• Implement comprehensive sanitation protocols, including increased sanitation schedules for bathrooms.

• Continue to provide options for delivery or curbside service, even if a location offers dine-in.

• Implement symptom screening for employees prior to the start of their shift.

• Consider offering masks to wait and host staff.

Restaurants should sanitize customer areas after each sitting with EPA-registered disinfectant, including but not limited to:

• Tables.

• Tablecloths.

• Chairs/booth seats.

• Table-top condiments and condiment holders.

• Any other surface or item a customer is likely to have touched.

• Avoid instances where customers serve their own food.