CDC Restaurant Guidelines

As bars and restaurants begin opening across the country, in some areas the CDC is offering guidelines to keep their restaurant staff and customers safe and slow the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars are encouraged to work with local and state guidelines making sure correct procedures are being met. Fortunately, there are a number of actions restaurants and bars can take to help lower the risk of exposure and spread.


Lowest Risk: Drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick up foodservice operations.

Low Risk: On-site dining outdoor seating only. Seating capacity reduced and tables to be spaced 6 feet apart.

More Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity reduced and tables spaced 6 feet apart.

Higher Risk: On-site dining with both indoor and outdoor seating. Seating capacity not reduced and tables not spaced 6 feet apart.

Restaurants and bars strategies to accommodate staff and customers.


  • Require frequent employee handwashing for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring.
  • Providing adequate supplies for employees such as hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectant wipes, touch-free objects, paper towels, and cloth face coverings.
  • Proper signage in visible locations (eg. at entrances, in restrooms) For free CDC safety signage and printables visit their site.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, cash registers, workstations, sink handles, bathroom stalls) and other high traffic areas.
  • Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning.


  • Limit any sharing of tools, equipment, or supplies by staff members.
  • Use touchless payment options as much as possible, if available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as pens, counters, or hard surfaces between use.
  • Use disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes, napkins, tablecloths). If disposable items are not feasible or desirable, ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and washed thoroughly.
  • Avoid use of food and beverage utensils and containers brought in by customers.


  • Limit seating capacities.
  • Seating or layouts may need to be modified to allow 6 feet between tables.
  • Offer drive-through, curbside take out, or delivery options as applicable. Prioritize outdoor seating as much as possible.
  • Promote the use of text technology and apps to alert patrons when their tables are ready to avoid crowds and eliminate buzzers.
  • Install physical barriers, such as partitions, in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain 6 feet apart. They can be useful in restaurant kitchens, at cash registers, host stands, or food pickup areas.

These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which businesses must comply.

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