Governor Baker recently announced a new set of initiatives, effective Tuesday, August 11, 2020, aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. In addition, the Governor has indefinitely postponed Step 2, Phase III of the MA reopening plan.
NEW STATE RULE REGARDING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE SERVICE:
The mandated restaurant rules have also been updated to state that alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site. Public safety officials, including state and local law enforcement, have the jurisdiction to enforce these orders and businesses and organizations in violation will be subject to fines and or cease and desist orders. Beginning Tuesday, August 11, Nashoba Valley will strictly follow this rule. Every table must order food with their initial order.
Restaurants are encouraged to structure operations to operate as much as possible through outdoor table service and to strictly limit indoor table service in order to assure effective compliance with social distancing requirements and to limit activities within confined spaces
Restaurants must comply with the following sector specific social distancing rules for providing dining services in all customer seating areas:
•Tables must be positioned so to maintain at least a 6 foot distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas (e.g., routes to bathrooms, entrances, exits); tables may be positioned closer if separated by protective / non-porous barriers (e.g., structural walls or plexi-glass dividers) not less than 6 feet high installed between tables and high foot traffic areas
•The size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed 6 people
•Restaurants may not seat any customers at the bar, but subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be re-configured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards
•All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited. It is our interpretation that this means that customer cannot move from table to table.
•Restaurants may provide carry-out or delivery service, but all safety standards for table separation, size of party, and hygiene must be maintained for any indoor or outdoor table seating that is available to carry-out patrons
•All other amenities and areas not employed for food and beverage service (e.g., dance floors, pool tables, playgrounds, etc.) must be closed or removed to prevent gathering of customers. It is our interpretation that this means that children must remain seated and cannot run around tables that are being used for customers.
Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between all individuals (workers, vendors, and customers) unless this creates a safety hazard due to the nature of the work or the configuration of the workspace:
•Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas) to allow 6 feet of physical distancing; redesign work stations to ensure physical distancing (e.g., separate tables, stagger workstations on either side of processing lines so workers are not face-to-face, use distance markers to assure spacing including in the kitchen area)
•Establish directional hallways and passageways for foot traffic if possible, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to the restaurant). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
•Prohibit lingering in common areas (e.g., waiting areas, bathrooms) and ensure social distancing in common areas by marking 6 feet spacing with tape or paint on the floor and signage. This is why we have established virtual likes for restrooms. We do not intend for you to have to make a reservation but simply stand in line virtually like you would otherwise do physically. Give it a chance because we find that it is working very well and most people are notified immediately that a restroom is available.
•All customer-facing workers (e.g., servers, bus staff) must minimize time spent within 6 feet of customers
Designate assigned working areas to workers where possible to limit movement throughout the restaurant and limit contact between workers (e.g., assigning zones to servers)
Stagger work schedules and staff meal and break times, regulating maximum number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing
Minimize the use of confined spaces (e.g., elevators, vehicles) by more than one individual at a time
Require face coverings for all customers and workers at all times, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to medical condition or disability