Wondering what to expect if you go out to eat at a Denver-area restaurant this week or next? The city and state have released guidelines and many restaurants are reopening with new protocols in place. Here’s what to watch for, from a health and safety perspective, so you can decide which businesses to patronize now.
1. Face coverings on both employees and customers
Of course employees must wear masks, but customers should, too, when they’re not eating and drinking. For example, when they are going to the restroom or picking up takeout.
2. Tables spaced at least 6 feet apart
There shouldn’t be any mingling between parties at different tables, either. Customers are required to be seated at a table, not at the bar, or idling in entryways and other common areas.
3. Groups of eight or fewer diners/drinkers
Eight people should be sitting together, max.
4. No more than half of the space’s capacity inside at any time, with a maximum of 50 people
Look for the building’s safety inspection by the entrance for an idea of its typical fire code capacity. Do a rough head count or trust your gut if the space seems too full.
5. Frequent washing of hands, disinfecting of surfaces
Take a look at the dining room, bathrooms and kitchen. Are table coverings being changed or tops cleaned in between each customer? Have menus, soap dispensers and other shared items been made hands-free? Are cooks and servers either wearing gloves or cleaning their hands frequently?
And bonus points for:
Has your favorite place to pop in for a bite turned reservation-only? That’s a good thing. By not allowing walk-in diners, restaurants can better control their foot traffic and ensure the safety of those who do get a spot.
QR code menus
Remember QR codes from back in the aughts? They’re back in the time of coronavirus, now serving as a handy way to pull up a restaurant menu right on your cellphone. Many food businesses are already implementing these in place of regular, disposable or other menu formats for even less contact.
Signage laying out guidelines
Check the restaurant’s website and social media accounts before visiting for updates on protocols and safety measures. And then be on the lookout for clear verbal or written rules once you arrive. Setting expectations and creating order will be key for a restaurant’s success during this time.
If you see any managers having tough conversations with diners, answering questions about rules and generally keeping an eye out for everyone’s safety, this is a good sign. Moving forward, the best customer service will be that which carefully addresses individual concerns while keeping in mind the greater health and safety of staff and the public. And it’s a tall order for business owners and workers who are used to the phrase “the customer is always right.” So, please, do your part in complying.
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