Food & Drink

Baker Administration Releases Guidance/Safety Standards for Mass. Restaurants

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Early last week, Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order that set up a four-phase approach to reopen the Massachusetts economy based on public health guidance, with restaurants in the state being slated to reopen in Phase 2. Now we have been able to see the guidance and safety standards for dining spots as they get closer to opening back up.

According to a post from The Boston Herald, the state is releasing a checklist and a safety standards sheet for restaurants that will both apparently be made official during Governor Baker's press conference this afternoon. The PDF pages are separated into three categories--social distancing, hygiene protocols, and safety and operations--with some highlights including the following:

-- Tables must be at least six feet away from each other unless barriers are set up.
-- Parties cannot be greater than six people.
-- Diners cannot sit at bars, though they can sit at tables set up in bar areas.
-- All customers have to be seated, so standing around bar areas is not allowed.
-- All diners and workers have to wear masks at all times, except for diners when they are seated. (Those who can't wear masks due to disabilities or medical conditions are exempt.)
-- Unattended buffets, topping bars, and drink stations, must remain shuttered.
-- Condiments, utensils, place settings and menus must be single-use or sanitized after each use. (Menus can also be displayed and/or shown electronically.)
-- Workers must be screened for illness at each shift.
-- Restaurants will be allowed to maximize outdoor dining space as long as they receive city/town approval.
-- Restaurants are encouraged to minimize interaction via technological/mobile solutions.

As of now, Phase 2 is schedule to kick in on Monday, June 8, though that date is not written in stone as of yet.

by Marc Hurwitz (Also follow us on Twitter at @hiddenboston)

[A related post from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants): List of Restaurant Closings and Openings in the Boston Area]

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