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:
• 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.