Many restaurant owners have been so eager to start opening again that they may be overlooking some important guidelines designed to keep both customers and employees safe from COVID-19. According to reports from around the country, many dining establishments are being temporarily shut down as a result of neglecting these safety protocols.
You can almost understand restaurant owners' exuberance to reopen, as it's hard to find an industry hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than dining and bar businesses. But, guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been instated for a reason: to keep people safe. And those eating establishments that are breaking the rules? Well, they all seem to be making the same mistakes.
Here are a handful of red flags to be on the lookout for the next time you go out to eat. If you spot these at a restaurant, know that CDC guidelines are being ignored.
Employees are not wearing masks.
The CDC's guidelines are very clear on employees wearing masks, stating that establishments must require "the use of cloth face coverings among all staff, as feasible." Yet, there are plenty of reports from around the country about restaurants getting shut down because staffers are flouting this very simple rule. The CDC is encouraging masks because science shows it effectively abates the spread of COVID-19. To learn more, check out 11 Major Grocery Chains Where You Need to Wear a Mask.
Tables are not six feet apart.
The CDC requires bars and restaurants to change their "layouts to ensure that all customer parties remain at least 6 feet apart (e.g., marking tables/stools that are not for use)." But, not all establishments have been following this guideline that allows for social distancing. As reports have shown, crowded and poorly ventilated indoor locations—like bars and restaurants—are among the most dangerous places to spread COVID-19. (Related: The One Clever Trick Bars are Using to Stay in Business.)
Masks for patrons are not enforced.
The CDC guidelines suggest that everyone inside a restaurant wears a mask, not just staffers. However, these guidelines are typically regulated on a state level. Not all states are as strict, but those that are have shut down a number of restaurants for allowing patrons to go maskless. Check out the 5 Restaurant Chains That Now Require You to Wear Face Masks.
The restaurant is clearly at or over-capacity.
After months of no revenue, one can understand why some owners overlooked some guidelines. But, overcrowded bars and restaurants are perfect environments for the exchange of germs and viruses. In fact, the states that reopened earliest—which featured many crowded bars and restaurants—are many of the states that are now in the "red zone" of COVID-19 cases. Check out 7 States Where Restaurant Reopenings Have Paused Or Reversed Indefinitely
Alcohol is being served, but not food.
This is more of a regional issue—specifically, New York state—where Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated that food be sold along with alcohol sales in order for a business to remain open. Not only did this mandate spawn a litany of curious menus in response, but it led to the closing of 12 bars recently because they were found to be serving alcohol without food.