As restaurants in Nevada get ready to reopen for dine-in service if Gov. Steve Sisolak lifts his stay-at-home order on May 15, the Southern Nevada Health District released guidelines for restaurants to help them maintain a safe dining room for staff and diners. Restaurants that decide to reopen will look very different with face masks on staff, tables spread apart, and disposable menus.
For the time being, buffets and bar areas inside restaurants need to remain closed during the initial phase of reopening restaurants, according the the health department.
The guidelines start with employees, which the health department recommends screening before they start working and sending home sick workers. Restaurant operators need to encourage frequent hand washing, face masks, and maintaining six feet of social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While the health department recommends switching to disposable utensils, cups, and plates when possible, tableware can still be used as long as it’s disinfected, washed, rinsed, and sanitized before using again.
Tables and chairs should be cleaned between meals, and the waiting area, restrooms, and other areas frequently touched should be disinfected.
Diners should limit their groups to five people and make reservations in advance instead of walking in to maintain social distancing. Even markings on the floor will denote six feet of distance between customers waiting for takeout or for a table.
Menus may become disposable or replaced with menu boards placed throughout the restaurant. And customers won’t be able to grab self-service condiments and utensils.
The tables themselves, while spread apart, can’t be preset with napkins and utensils, and when a customer wants a refill, the health department recommends providing a new glass or leaving a bottle or pitcher at the table.
And restaurants may decide to only accept electronic payment instead of cash.
The health department notes that the framework for reopening Nevada’s businesses is still in the development process and its guidelines serve as recommendations.
Sisolak’s stay-at-home order expires on May 15, and if Nevada sees fewer reported cases of COVID-19, he will allow dine-in restaurants to reopen during his first phase of reopening the state for business. Casinos will not be allowed to reopen until phase three or four of his plan. The Nevada Gaming Control Board already released its guidelines that include 50 percent capacity for casinos, cleaning, face masks, and social distancing.