NCDHHS publishes guidance for dine-in restaurant reopening

Gov. Roy Cooper briefs media at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. Photo via NC Dept of Public Safety

RALEIGH – On Tuesday, the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association sent a five-page document titled ‘interim guidance for restaurants’ for the movement to phase two in Gov. Roy Cooper’s three-phase reopening plan. The guidelines were developed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services. 

The document begins saying that any place where people gather poses a risk for COVID-19 transmission and restaurants should create and implement a plan to minimize risk. The document covers social distancing, face coverings, cleaning and hygiene, monitoring for symptoms, protecting vulnerable populations, combatting misinformation, and water and ventilation systems.

According to the document, restaurants are required to arrange tables to keep at least six feet of separation for indoor and outdoor seating and keep capacity at no more than 50% of maximum occupancy. Some of the recommendations made include not allowing more than six people per table unless they are a family from the same household, stagger seating times, advising waitstaff and employees to stay six feet away from one another whenever possible, and utilize touchless payment systems.

Restaurants will also be required to conduct daily symptom screenings and perform ongoing cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced this evening he will brief media from the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh at 5 p.m. Wednesday to make an announcement regarding whether phase two will begin on Friday, May 22.