CDC offers advice for venues reopening after Covid-19

18th May, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for bars preparing to reopen as coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease across the US.

Bars and restaurants will implement social distancing measures when they reopen

States across the US have begun easing lockdown restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic and some are now allowing restaurants and other food service businesses to open their doors.

As a result of relaxing lockdown measures, US federal agency the CDC has issued guidance it hopes businesses will use alongside state-level advice to plan the “most appropriate actions” while preparing to reopen.

According to the CDC advice, venues should only consider reopening if the move would be “consistent with applicable state and local orders” and if businesses are prepared to “protect employees at higher risk for severe illness”.

While preparing to open, venues must ensure all “recommended health and safety actions are in place”. These include promoting healthy hygiene practices, intensifying cleaning and sanitation, encourage social distancing and training all employees on health and safety protocols.

Businesses must also put ongoing monitoring practices in place. These steps should include procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees health and encourage anyone who is sick to stay home.

According to the CDC, if these actions are implemented businesses may be able to safely reopen.

There have so far been 1,467,065 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US. However, as some areas of the country have been less badly affected than others, certain states are preparing to lift stay-at-home orders. Lockdown measures have so far been lifted in states including Nevada and Georgia, where restaurants have been allowed to open since 27 April.

For businesses that do elect to open their doors, Georgia has implemented strict measures, including only permitting 10 patrons per 300 square feet of public space.

Businesses must also screen and evaluate workers, implement staggered shifts, train employees on the importance of increased hand-washing and require all employees to wear face coverings at all times.

On-trade venues must also reduce employee contact in break rooms, prohibit handshaking, increase physical space between workers and patrons and discontinue the use of salad bars and buffets.

In Nevada, on-trade venues are also being encouraged to provide hand sanitiser stations, post informational signs regarding physical distancing and stagger arrivals of employees and guests.

A recent survey found that just one in 10 consumers across four US states have visited a bar since the on-trade started reopening.

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