COVID-19 Update on Reopening for Restaurants, Bars, Taprooms, and Tasting Rooms
By Camila Alarcon
Executive Order 2020-34 allows food and beverage businesses to reopen for dine-in services. This modifies and supplements Executive Order 2020-09, which previously closed restaurants and bars with the exception of takeout and delivery orders. Now restaurants, bars, taprooms, and tasting rooms can allow dine-in services as of Monday, May 11, 2020, and continue to offer takeout and delivery.
The Executive Order allows food and beverage businesses to resume dine-in services “provided they establish and implement protocols and best practices for businesses to address COVID-19, including enacting physical distancing policies, limiting the number of diners and following the protocols as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Department of Labor Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Arizona Department of Health Services.” Phrase-by-phrase, this means:
• Dine-in services is a broad term that covers restaurants, bars, taprooms, and tasting rooms that serve food. It is not limited to meals. Food may be brought in by other businesses or customers (although the preparation of food requires county health permits). Food must be readily available at all times in which customers are in the establishment. Customers also need to be utilizing the dine-in option, but not every customer at every table needs be eating at all times. This term gives businesses great latitude of how to interpret and implement, but note as well that it gives law enforcement great discretion of how to enforce.
• The business must establish and implement protocols and best practices. The Executive Order requires a business to enact physical distancing policies and limit the number of diners. The Executive Order recognizes that every business is different, so there are no strict occupancy limits. Also absent are mandatory directives for all staff to wear masks or disposable gloves, but both the CDC and DHS encourage and advise the use of masks or face coverings by certain staff. It is highly advisable to have a policy on hand and available to customers and law enforcement. At minimum, a policy should incorporate the guidance issued by the Governor’s Office that cites CDC and DHS protocols.
• All other Executive Orders and laws still apply.
If you would like additional information or have any questions about the Executive Order or alcohol regulation in general, please contact Camila Alarcon.
Camila focuses her practice in administrative law and government relations. She has extensive experience in both the public and private sector, and prepares her clients to navigate successfully the complex procedures and rules of federal, state, and local agencies. She also assists her clients in shaping legislative policy when current statutes and rules require amending.
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