OSHA has released guidelines for bars and restaurants serving the public through takeout or curbside pickup. Much in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s previous guidance documents for both the manufacturing industry (attention brewers, vintners and distillers) and the guidance for packaged delivery businesses (attention anyone delivering to homes) the “guidance” takes the form of “tips” to help employees and employers reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Taken together with the CDC recommendations these guidelines provide a majority of the current federal “tips” on businesses looking to re-open or with limited on-site operations that involve human interaction. As NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report discussed today, the vast majority of employers currently have no protections and the grey area created by the possibility that employer action led to the infection and injury of an employee is a serious concern to weigh in assessing resuming operations. Perhaps that is why these guidance documents from OSHA are bare-bones and refer to their statements not as “guidelines” or with definitive terms like “shall” or “must” but rather as “tips” and “alerts” with bullet-pointed on-line instructions.

In any event, at a minimum, compliance with the current federal thinking on the matter is a place to begin in determining opening and operations criteria for many. As for bars and restaurants, here’s what OSHA recommends:

  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Avoid direct hand-off, when possible.
  • Display a door or sidewalk sign with the services available (e.g., take-out, curbside), instructions for pickup, and hours of operation.
  • Reserve parking spaces near the front door for curbside pickup only.
  • Train workers in proper hygiene practices and the use of workplace controls.
  • Allow workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus.
  • Provide a place to wash hands and alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with Environmental
  • Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
  • Practice sensible social distancing by maintaining six feet between co-workers and customers. Mark six-foot distances with floor tape in pickup lines, encourage customers to pay ahead of time by phone or online, temporarily move workstations to create more distance, and install plexiglass partitions, if feasible.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.

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