restaurant recovery resources

September 23rd, 2020- Updated Safety Standards for Restaurants

The Baker-Polito Administration announced revised safety standards for restaurants, which will take effect on Monday, September 28th. Restaurants remain subject to the previously-issued, August 11th, 2020 safety standards until these revised workplace safety standards go into effect on Monday.

Click Here to Access the Updated 9/28 Restaurant Standards

The most notable changes concern table seating and bar seating.

The size of a party seated at a table, as of Monday, cannot exceed 10.

Bar seating will be permitted provided that either:

  • There are no active work areas or working staff behind the bar at least 6 feet away; or
  • There is a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglas) separating customers from the bar space that is at least 30 inches high and a gap/opening at the bottom of the barrier is allowed for food and drink service as long as the gap/opening is no more than 8 inches high

In addition, parties must be seated at bars (no standing customer service) and parties must be spaced at least 6 feet from other parties.

Subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be reconfigured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards. Tables must not be placed within 6 feet of the staffed bartending area.

All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited.

Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission Advisory - Liquor To Go

On July 20, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill authorizing on-premises licensees to sell mixed drinks for off-premises consumption for the duration of the Governor’s declared state of emergency or until February 28, 2021, whichever comes later.

Click here for the ABCC Advisory Regarding on-premises licensees selling mixed drinks for off-premises consumption

Local Information for Reopening your Business


The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that on July 6th, Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin and updates on gatherings will be in effect. For the City of Boston, Phase III and the gatherings order will take effect on Monday, July 13th. The Department of Public Health (DPH) also issued updated guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase III, subject to industry-specific rules concerning capacity and operations: 

  • Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues;
  • Museums, cultural and historical sites; 
  • Fitness centers and health clubs;
  • Certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact;
  • Professional sports teams, under the authority of league-wide rules, may hold games without spectators

Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in Phase III are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards. As always, we recommend that businesses consult sector-specific protocols and the When Can My Business Reopen? pages at

Please see the press release for additional information regarding Step One of Phase III, the revised gatherings order, and public health guidance.


This week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced new COVID-19 public health guidelines on travel and transportation.

Effective Wednesday, July 1, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts, including residents returning home, are instructed to self-quarantine for 14-days. This guidance does not apply to travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York or New Jersey. Additionally, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are also exempt from this directive.  Travelers who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are instructed to not travel to Massachusetts.

State Regulations

Restaurants Opening Outdoor Dining Areas in Phase 2

Restaurant Mandatory Safety Standards and Checklist for Restaurants

Mandatory Safety Standards


However, for phase 2 to advance, Public Health Metrics will Determine Advancing from phase 1. Each of the phases will last a minimum of three weeks. Public health data will determine whether the next phase will advance, and/or the state may need to return to an earlier phase. The Sector-Specific Protocols for these businesses in upcoming phases will be published in advance of the future phases.

Key public health metrics will determine if and when it is appropriate to proceed through reopening phases. They include:

  • COVID-19 positive test rate
  • Number of individuals who died from COVID-19
  • Number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals
  • Health care system readiness
  • Testing capacity
  • Contact tracing capabilities

May 18th, 2020- Massachusetts Governor’s Office general business guidance

For establishments to reopen, the business must develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how its workplace will comply with these new regulations and will ensure the safety of employees and customers. Required Materials are located on, and include:

  • COVID-19 control plan template – Template that satisfies the written control plan requirement for self-certification. This plan does not need to be submitted to an authority, but it must be retained on-premises in the event of an inspection. 
  • Compliance attestation poster – Poster that customer-facing businesses are required to print, sign, and post in an area within the business premises that is visible to workers and visitors
  • Employer Poster and Worker poster – Posters that businesses can print and display within the business premises to describe the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, and cleaning and disinfecting

Reopening Massachusetts- general business guidance and access to all documents  Click Here

Full Reopening Advisory Board Report Click Here

When can my business reopen? Detailed industry reopening plan Click here

Gov. Baker’s Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards Click Here

Find Supply Vendors Click here
Gov. Baker’s Four-Phased Reopening Plan  Click Here 

Gov. Baker’s reopening plan presentation Click Here

For more information visit the state’s Reopening Massachusetts website

Keep your establishment safe with these basic techniques

Follow CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes Click Here

Follow CDC’s Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation Click Here

Additional Tips:

  • Mark spaces on the floor to encourage customers to stay 6ft apart
  • Continue "Senior Hours" at establishments for the populations at risk.
  • Use disposable plastic coverings on tables
  • Have an extra condiment caddy on tables for customers to put their masks and personal items
  • Continue using disposable cups, eliminating the extra handling of dishes
  • Encourage touchless point of sales 
    • use golf pencils to sign materials
    • encourage customers to use Google and Apple Pay options

Restaurant Resources

COVID-19 Updates for Restaurants 

Daily COVID-19 Updates

ServSafe Free CoursesIncludes Free Certification Course for Covid-19 Takeout, Covid-19 Delivery, Covid-19 Re-Openings

FDA Guidelines for Restaurants 

National Restaurant News

Adjustment to plexiglass

Separated by plexiglass? Experts discuss how restaurants will change 

Thinking outside the box
To reopen, restaurants will need to completely reinvent themselves

An Amsterdam Restaurant Made Little Greenhouses So Diners Can Enjoy A Meal While Social Distancing 


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