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Social Distancing While Running Your Restaurant

What you need to know about how to curb transmission of Coronavirus while still operating your restaurant safely.

Social distancing can be effective, but restaurant management needs to consider how it applies to both the front of the house where patrons are, and the back of the house where the staff is likely to be together for 8 or 10 hours.

Up front, consider seating every other table, taking fewer reservations, and upping “to go” options so patrons can eat at home. Certain jurisdictions like New York City are requiring seating only 50% of capacity to force social distancing in this way. 

In the back of the house, restaurant management should discontinue alley rallies and staff meetings; instead, communicate via group chat or video so all staff get the same messages.

Family meals should be “to go” or served buffet style rather than have everyone sitting around one table.

Many employees socialize after their shifts - either at your bar or elsewhere. Managers should discourage or suggest limits on this right now.

Kitchens often have tight workspaces where staff are working closely together, particularly in prep areas. Considering spreading prep out, either physically or by schedule.

We continue to hear about very complicated situations where managers worked sick and attended meetings, employees self-quarantined after very casual exposure to someone who hadn’t tested positive (or had) and many had difficulty finding testing for sick employees. These are all things that are out of our control, but social distancing is something that can be controlled in many circumstances and will help curb transmission.

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