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RESTAURANT AND RETAIL STORE GUIDELINES RELEASED FOR RE-OPENING IN TENNESSEE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

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Tennessee officials just released the guidelines for retail and restaurants re-opening next week (April 27, 2020 for restaurants and April 29, 2020 for retail stores). There are as follows:

RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE PROTECTION

  • Follow sanitation frequency guidance contained in this document at all times
  • Have dedicated face coverings and dedicated gloves (i.e., only used by one person) worn by all employees, at all times. Should not be N-95 or medical variety – these should be saved for use by healthcare workers
  • Require all employees to report any symptoms of illness to supervisor and require notification of COVID-19 positive case in employee’s household
  • Provide ServSafe COVID-19 training for all food handlers as soon as possible

RESTAURANT CUSTOMER PROTECTION

  • Limit the number of customers in the restaurant to 50% of seating capacity
  • Tables should be spaced at least 6 feet apart
  • Limit tables to no more than 6 guests per table
  • Mark any indoor or outdoor waiting area so that social distancing standards are met (options can include a text system to alert guests of available seating, an intercom system, or only one member of a party being allowed to wait in the waiting area)
  • Bar areas should remain closed
  • Live music should not be permitted
  • Screen customers for illness upon their entry into the restaurant: Best practice: Temperature checks for every customer. Customers with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on premise. Minimum practice: Question customers regarding COVID-19 symptoms. Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19? Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat? Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?

BUSINESS PROCESS ADAPTATIONS

  • Place hand sanitizer stations in restaurant lobby and bathrooms, as well as at cashier stations
  • Sanitize all front-of-house contact surfaces including door handles, screens, phones, pens, keyboards and other areas of hand contact every two hours, at a minimum
  • Use menus that are disposable or sanitized between each use
  • Use rolled silverware/napkins stored in sealed bins (gloves should be used by staff while rolling silverware in designated sanitary areas)
  • Sanitize all tabletop items, including condiments, after each table turns (or use disposables)
  • Sanitize chairs, especially where contact occurs, after each table turns
  • Do not offer self-serve buffets, condiments on a counter for use by multiple tables, or beverage station re-use

RETAIL EMPLOYEE PROTECTION

  • Staff should wear face coverings (not N-95 or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers) and other personal protection items as recommended by the CDC
  • Provide training on personal protective equipment based on CDC guidelines
  • Provide a sanitizing station such as a wash basin with soap and/or bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Stagger shifts, breaks, and meals, in compliance with wage and hour laws and regulations, to maintain social distancing
  • Provide regular updates and training for employees about personal COVID-19 mitigation and store safeguards based on CDC guidelines
  • Require all employees to report any illness to supervisor and require notification of COVID-19 positive case in employee’s household
  • Prohibit congregating in break rooms or common areas and limit capacity of such areas to allow for safe social distancing minimum of 6 feet whenever possible

RETAIL CONSUMER PROTECTION

  • Limit the number of customers inside a store at a given time, excluding employees and representatives of third-party delivery companies, to 50 percent or less of store occupancy based on Tennessee’s Building and Fire Code
  • Customers should wear face coverings inside the store
  • Consider dedicate shopping hours or appointment times for the elderly, medically vulnerable, and health care workers
  • Establish one-way aisles and traffic patterns for social distancing
  • Increase curbside, pickup, and delivery service options to minimize contact and maintain social distancing
  • Assign dedicate staff to prompt customers regarding the importance of social distancing
  • Add social distancing “reminder” signs, personal stickers, floor decals, and audio announcements

BUSINESS PROCESS ADAPTATIONS

  • Establish enhanced cleaning protocols that follow CDC guidelines including sanitizing shared resources (such as carts) after each use, and sanitizing all high traffic / high touch areas (such as counters check-out lanes, keypads, break rooms, dressing rooms, rest rooms) every two hours and when visibly dirty
  • Use a clearly designated entrance and a separate clearly designated exit to maintain social distancing
  • Use plastic shields or barriers between customers and clerks at service counters, and clean them frequently (every 2 hours and when visibly dirty)
  • Adjust store hours to allow time for enhanced cleaning
  • Prohibit the use of reusable bags (reusable bags may carry COVID-19)
  • Suspend the sampling of food and personal hygiene products
  • Task management-level employees within a store to monitor compliance

EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Screen all employees reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms with following questions:

Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Are you experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?

Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?

Have you had new loss of taste or smell?

Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?

Temperature screening employees:

Best practice: employers to take temperatures on site with a no-touch thermometer each day upon arrival at work.

Minimum practice: Temperatures can be taken before arriving. Normal temperature should not exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Direct any employee who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., answers yes to any of the screening questions or who is running a fever) to leave the premises immediately and seek medical care and/or COVID-19 testing, per CDC guidelines. Employers should maintain the confidentiality of employee health information.

  • Implement workplace cleaning and disinfection practices, according to CDC guidelines, with regular sanitization of high-touch surfaces at least every two hours
  • Mitigate exposure in the workplace by implementing social distancing guidelines and modify scheduling
  • Allow employees to work from home as much as possible
  • Plan for potential COVID-19 cases, and work with local health department officials when needed (e.g., monitor and trace COVID-19 cases, deep clean facilities)
  • Covered employers and employees should be aware of the provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which allows for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons, such as for self-quarantining or seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Update the Employee Illness Policy to include the symptoms of “COVID-19” or create a COVID-19 specific policy. All staff should sign the policy, and the policy should be posted for confirmation
  • Limit self-service options (customer samples, communal packaging, food/beverages, etc.)

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