According to a recent Morning Consult poll, only 22% of Americans would feel comfortable eating out at a restaurant in the next month based on what they know today about the coronavirus pandemic. While that is an increase from the 9% who said the same thing in early April, it still indicates that food-service establishments will face significant challenges as states begin to gradually ease their lockdown restrictions.
Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering a road map of what that gradual easing might look like for customer-starved bars and restaurants.
Actually, it’s more of a flowchart than a road map. In its latest COVID-19 report yesterday, the CDC included its long-awaited guidance for food-service establishments, laying out what steps they should take to ensure they’re safe for reopening. The report includes a 12-step “decision tool” that maps out each step and explains if bars and restaurants can proceed to the next one.
The takeaway? It seems clear that most bars and restaurants won’t be reopening anytime soon, and even when they finally do, they may not resemble the frenetic, fun-filled public spaces we knew and loved before the pandemic. The CDC’s decision tool includes three parts, each asking a different question for proprietors:
- Should you consider opening?
- Are recommended health and safety actions in place?
- Is ongoing monitoring in place?
Within each section is a list of additional steps, including—first and foremost—making sure the establishment is following state and local orders. The guidelines also emphasize employee safety procedures, proper cleaning and disinfecting of the environment, enforcing social-distancing practices, monitoring employees for symptoms, and being ready to communicate with local health authorities if new cases are suspected.
Trust me. This all looks better in a flowchart. You can see the 12-step tool for yourself here.