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.
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
PHASE III, STEP ONE TO INITIATE ON MONDAY, JULY 6TH
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 www.mass.gov/reopening.
Please see the press release for additional information regarding Step One of Phase III, the revised gatherings order, and public health guidance.
NEW TRAVEL 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.
Restaurants Opening Outdoor Dining Areas in Phase 2
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
- 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
Looking at other local states plans
Federal Reopening Plan
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
- 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