A Brief Summary of Outdoor Dining Restrictions | Sharlin Law NJ

A Brief Summary of Outdoor Dining Restrictions

Dining restrictions

Owners of bars and eateries in New Jersey now offer outdoor dining yet continue to scramble and improvise as restrictions are being slowly lifted. Each day, they monitor the news and sift through a flurry of information. We are happy to provide an overview, while you concentrate on getting back on your feet.

Most establishments already know the basics. Tables must be placed six feet apart. Each table must have no more than eight customers. Employees are still required to wear masks and gloves. Buffets and salad bars are out of the question. Most importantly, there need to be clearly visible signs that prohibit the entry of patrons who are not wearing masks and anyone with a fever or coronavirus-related symptoms.

These are five recommendations to help business owners adhere to the specific restrictions administered by the Department of Health:

Patrons are not permitted to sit indoors.  This one is obvious. Allow customers to enter, but try to have them leave through a separate exit. Restrooms should be available as well. All must wear masks unless they have a medical excuse or are under the age of seven.

Employees are required to follow guidelines. This includes regular washing their hands and wearing face coverings. Gloves are necessary if they encounter a customer or handle food, utensils, etc. Health checks must be carried out daily. If a worker shows any COVID symptoms, send that person home.

Promote a safe and healthy atmosphere. Disinfect tables and chairs. Sanitize credit card machines, kiosks and other surfaces that are frequently touched. Smoking is already a bad idea, but now more than ever. Do not allow it in areas where people are drinking and eating.

Encourage social distancing. Reservations always kept things from getting hectic, now is no different. Digital menus allow customers to order from their car. Then, they can stay there or wait for a table from a proper distance. Tables and chairs that are not in use should be roped off from the public. Cash registers, bars and host stands should be roped off.

Cooperate with the state and local government. You will continue to receive updates. In the meantime, you can assist with contact tracing by keeping record of customer contact information. In order to serve alcohol outside, you need a special, one-time permit. Finally, if you require more space, local authorities may allow you to use parking lots, sidewalks, streets and other areas for seating.

Indoor dining was set to return in the first week of July, but Governor Murphy was forced to delay after it was reported that certain establishments were reported for ignoring social distancing and allowing patrons to congregate without face masks. The decision was made two days after the governor announced guidelines for a return to indoor dining. This constantly shifting status quo has become a challenge for small business attorneys as well to provide guidance to their clients. We promise to remain as reliable resource as possible.  

The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC

is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.

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