Restaurant Reopening Toolkit

Everything You Need to Know Before Resuming On-Premise Service

Our mission at the GRA is to serve as the voice of Georgia's restaurant industry in Advocacy, Education, and Awareness. Restaurants are the heartbeat of their communities and right now, our industry is facing challenges far greater than we could have ever imagined. The GRA is here not only to represent restaurants with elected officials and shape public policy in our industry's best interest, but we are also here as a resource to help you get through difficult times and hopefully thrive again in the future. We must move forward in thoughtful ways that can create a positive impact for our industry and in our local communities.The health and well-being of Georgia's restaurant owners, workers and customers is always a top priority of our organization. Restaurants are highly regulated, and we are already utilizing proven methods to prevent the spread of disease. There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transferred to humans through food. Continue to follow sanitation procedures outlined in the Georgia Food Code. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit the Georgia Department of Public Health or CDC websites.

If you are feeling symptoms, please contact Georgia's COVID-19 hotline, 844-442-2681, or the screening number for your local hospital. If you or an employee tests positive for COVID-19, contact the Georgia Department of Public Health at 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584).

Please, reach out to us for any additional information or assistance. We are here to help.

GRA Statement on Reopening Restaurants

The Georgia Restaurant Association appreciates Governor Kemp’s support of our restaurant community. The safety, health and well-being of Georgia's restaurant owners, workers and guests has always been the absolute top priority of our organization. We ask that restaurants and diners follow the rules set by the Office of the Governor. During this transitional period we are all in, Georgia's restaurants request respect, patience and understanding with regards to the pace of reopening. Some may be ready to welcome diners back, while many will need additional time to confirm their individual supply chain, initiate new operational standards, and ensure the safety of their staff and guests. (Updated July 31, 2020)

GRA Statement on CDC Report

"Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities" (CDC, September 2020)

Georgia's restaurants proudly serve millions of guests every day and follow food safety and sanitation guidelines set by the CDC, FDA, Georgia Department of Public Health and Governor Brian Kemp's executive orders.

We are aware of the latest CDC report in regards to in-person dining. We are also aware that the study came from a sample size of 314 participants in 11 different healthcare facilities across the United States. In addition, the publication states that ‘adults in the study were from one of 11 participating health care facilities and might not be representative of the United States population.’

For the past six months, Georgia's restaurants have struggled to keep their doors open. Those who are open remain deeply committed to serving their communities while providing a safe environment for their employees and guests.

 We will continue to support all restaurants in their choice to allow in-person dining or not.

Official Guidelines

Georgia Restaurant Guide to Reopening

Governor Brian P. Kemp - Press release (April 1, 2021)

  • Executive Order (
    • Effective from March 31, 2021 at 12:00 A.M until April 7, 2021 at 11:59 P.M.
    • Extends Executive Order by one week
    • Restaurants must still maintain six (6) feet social distancing
    • Restaurant employees must still wear facial coverings when interacting with guests
    • Restaurants & Bars Section

  • Executive Order (
    • Effective from April 8, 2021 at 12:00 A.M until April 30, 2021 at 11:59 P.M.
    • Removes the gatherings ban
    • Reduces any remaining distance requirements (i.e. distance between parties at restaurants, bars)
    • Eliminates the ability of law enforcement to close an organization for failure to comply with the Executive Order provisions
    • Restaurants & Bars Section

GRA Executive Order Enforcement Statement

Georgia Dept. of Public Health: COVID-19 Guidance for Restaurants (updated Feb. 16, 2021)

CDC Re-Opening Decision Tree for Restaurants

Best Practices + Helpful Resources

National Restaurant Association

Legal Issues to Consider Regarding COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccine Policies


Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Infographic Summary of Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Guidance for Organizing Large Events and Gatherings (updated March 8, 2021)

Event Planning and COVID-19: Questions and Answers (updated February 19, 2021)

Considerations for Restaurants and Bars (updated December 16, 2020)

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes

Frequently Asked Questions

"Stop the Spread" Poster in nineteen languages


Restoring Water Quality in Building for Reopening

U.S. Chamber

How to Screen Employees for Coronavirus

Georgia Chamber

Background on Unemployment Insurance Under the CARES Act

Reopening Guidance Flyer

Customizable Healthy Workplace Flyer

TriMark Strategic

COVID-19 Operating Essentials



Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Non-Federal Employee Rights Poster

Front Entrance Sign

Business Liability Protection

In 2021's legislative session, House Bill 112 was passed to extend SB 359's requirements through July 14, 2022.  HB 112 is currently awaiting signature by Governor Brian Kemp.

On August 5th 2020, Governor Kemp signed 
Senate Bill 359, which enables some protection for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses can post either (1) a sign at their entrance or (2) issue any receipt or proof of purchase for entry, including but not limited to an electronic or paper ticket or wristband, to a person upon entry. The ticket and poster MUST have specific language in certain size specifications, which can be found in section 51-16-3 (starting at line 108) of the bill. We have created files for a ticket and a poster that you can print and use for your restaurant. (If you would rather create your own poster, here's a helpful hint for font size: one inch = 72 point)

NOTE: This is not and should not be considered blanket amnesty for businesses. This protection will not help if proven that something happened because of a business’ “gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” You should continue to follow the Governor’s Executive Order and guidelines from the Georgia Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control.

Business Liability Protection Entrance Ticket (8.5in x 2.75in)

Business Liability Protection Poster (must be printed at least 18in x 24in)

Employee Training


ServSafe® has developed a number of free resources aimed at keeping our workers and the dining public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ServSafe® Takeout and Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions - Two new, free on-demand training modules that address COVID-19 precautions for takeout and delivery. Available in English and Spanish.

THRIVE Georgia

Atlanta-based tech company MLevel developed a self-service COVID-19 mitigation training platform in partnership with the Georgia Restaurant Association that allows small businesses in the Restaurant Hospitality sector (up to 500 employees) to educate and train their employees on re-entry into the workforce.


Coronavirus: Reducing the Risk of InfectionsUse this video to help educate your employees on ways to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

Practice and Promote Proper Hand WashingHand washing can be one of the most important ways to prevent any kind of viral outbreak.

If an Employee Tests Positive

Guidance for Restaurants Responding to COVID-19 Positive Employee

**Reminder: Restaurants are classified as critical infrastructure**

Other references:

GRA Expert Guidance

Free COVID-19 Guidance: Legal | Financial | Insurance

We are grateful for the support of our Corporate Partners and Allied Members. As a member of the GRA, our experts are lending their support free of charge to help address legal, financial and insurance related issues arising from the pandemic. This offer is only available to all Georgia-based and Georgia-located restaurants, and the only requirement is that your legal, financial or insurance issue be COVID-19-related. Areas of assistance include:

  • Alcohol regulations;

  • CARES Act/SBA Funding (PPP and EIDL loan applications, forgiveness and other issues surrounding the programs);

  • CARES Act Tax Credits

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • Landlord/Tenant negotiations;

  • Unemployment (employer filing, furloughs, layoffs, etc.);

  • Restaurant and food safety;

  • Vendor negotiations;

  • and more.

To access this assistance, send an email stating your name, restaurant and a description of your issue. We will follow up in the order your email is received.

Government Affairs

Georgia Department of Labor

GDOL Reminds Claimants to Reapply When Benefit Year Ends (updated March 25, 2021)

State Extended Benefits (SEB) Program Ending (updated February 22, 2021)

Update on Federal Stimulus Bill, State Extended Benefits (SEB) - September 28, 2020

Information for filing for unemployment, mandatory filing by employers for partial claims, and reemployment services – March 27, 2020

Georgia Department of Labor Expanded Rules and Resources – March 26, 2020

Local Government

Local Government Ordinances, Licenses, Regulation + Waivers


COVID-19 Policy Tracker

White House Guidelines: Opening Up America Again

Additional Resources

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Georgia Department of Labor | Unemployment – Employer

Georgia Department of Public Health

Restaurant Business Relief Initiatives

Latest Industry News

Rehire Letter Template