As expected, the Governor’s office and the Department of Health (DOH) have released updated guidance to help bars, restaurants, hotels and others implement the updated mitigation orders that will allow many businesses to increase their capacity starting April 4. Here is a link to the full guidance, as well as a link here for updated FAQ’s issued by the Department of Health, but I highlight a few of the main items below.
You can resume bar service provided you implement the following rules.
- Patrons must be seated in order to be served.
- Bar blocks or some type of divider must be used to separate parties. Alternatively, if partitions are not used, then seats between parties must be spaced at least 6 feet apart. If multiple people are in a party, they may sit next to one another at the bar, without 6 feet of space in between. The 6 feet of space is required between parties, not individuals in the same party.
- A customer may walk up to the bar in order to purchase food or drink but must then return to their seat in order to consume it.
If you have Self-Certified, you may operate at 75% capacity. You do NOT need to re-certify if you have already done so. If you have not self-certified, you can still complete that process.
Remember that capacity is calculated by either:
- Using the stated fire code maximum occupancy – in which case, you may have 75% of that number; or
- Arranging the service area so that customers sitting at a table are not within 6 feet of any other customers and calculate the how many customers can be accommodated. Under this method, that is your capacity (it does not have to be further reduced to 75%).
If you have not self-certified and do not intend to do so, you may operate at 50% capacity (calculated the same as above).
No Food Requirement
The DOH has now removed the previous requirement that food be ordered in order to purchase alcohol.
The requirement that alcohol service cease at 11:00 pm has also been removed. Licensees are now permitted to serve alcohol during all hours previously permitted under the Liquor Code.
There is no longer an occupancy limit for outdoor seating areas. You may now accommodate as many customers as your space will allow provided that customers sitting at a table are not within 6 feet of any other customers at another table.
You may NOT use partitions in lieu of social distancing outdoors. For outdoor seating, tables must be spaced 6 feet apart.
Indoor events are increased to 25% of maximum capacity.
Outdoor events are increased to 50% maximum capacity.
For restaurants hosting an event or gathering indoors (i.e., a wedding, catered event, concert, show, reception, meeting, etc.), the total number of individuals (including staff) must be limited to 75% of the total maximum occupancy of the restaurant (or 50% if not self-certified).
As always if anyone has any questions regarding the updated guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with the attorneys here at Russell Krafft & Gruber.