On March 12, 2021, Governor Brian Kemp issued his latest executive order with new guidelines that apply to Restaurants, Private Event Facilities, and Bars. The previous 35 guidelines have now been reduced to 16 - the majority being regulations already covered under the Georgia Food Code. The current guidelines are as follows:
- Screen and evaluate Workers who exhibit Symptoms of COVID-19;
- Require Workers who exhibit Symptoms of COVID-19 to not report to work or to seek medical attention. Per existing U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code requirements, Workers who are sick should remain home. If a Worker becomes ill or presents Symptoms of COVID-19 at work, the operator should identify the Worker's condition during a pre-work screening and send the Worker home. Restaurants shall create, maintain, and follow established policies regarding when Workers who have become ill are permitted to return to work. A Worker with known or suspected COVID-19 must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to self-isolate for at least ten (10) days after onset of Symptoms of COVID-19 and end isolation only after Symptoms of COVID-19 have improved and the Worker has been fever-free and/or free of Symptoms of COVID-19 for twenty-four (24) consecutive hours without medication before returning to work;
- Require Workers to wear face coverings while interacting with patrons. Workers may also wear face shields in addition to their face coverings. Such face coverings and face shields shall be cleaned or replaced daily;
- Maintain a regular cleaning schedule for the entire facility and frequently clean and sanitize high contact areas that are touched often by Workers and/or patrons including, but not limited to, table condiments, digital ordering devices, check presenters, self-service areas, reusable menus, tabletops, and playgrounds;
- Remove items from self-service drink, condiment, utensil, and tableware stations and have Workers provide such items to patrons directly wherever practicable;
- The use of disposable paper menus is strongly encouraged, which should be discarded after each patron use. Non-touch menus are also encouraged;
- Checking restrooms regularly, cleaning and sanitizing based on the frequency of use, and always ensure adequate supply of soap and paper towels;
- Verify that ware-washing machines are operating at the required wash and rinse temperatures and with the appropriate detergents and sanitizers;
- Redesigning seating arrangements to ensure at least six (6) feet of separation from seating to seating or utilizing physical barriers to separate groups of seating within six (6) feet;
- Providing service only to seated patrons, or, if not applicable, to patrons in designated areas that are practicing Social Distancing;
- Establishing pathways for patrons’ ingress and egress and ensuring that they are clear and unobstructed;
- Post signage on entrances that no one with Symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted in the facility;
- Where practicable, physical barriers such as partitions or Plexiglas at registers should be used;
- Use technological solutions where possible to reduce person-to-person interaction: mobile ordering, mobile access to menus to plan, text on arrival for seating, and contactless payment options;
- Provide Hand Sanitizer for use by patrons, including contactless hand sanitizing stations when available;
- Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation and purification of air within facilities as practicable.
Restaurants must continue adhere to Georgia Food Code regulations in addition to the new updated guidelines. Workers that interact with patrons must also still continue to wear face coverings as well as ensuring 6-feet social distancing between tables.
If you have any questions about the changes in the Executive Order Guidelines, please do not hesitate to reach out.