Skip navigation
Dr-Robert-Redfield.jpg Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty Images News
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC releases guidelines for reopening restaurant dining rooms and bars

Safety and monitoring protocols must be in place

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a set of guidelines for restaurants and bars to follow when reopening their dining rooms.

The Atlanta-based federal authority advised operators to check with state and local health officials “and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.”

The CDC said reopening must be consistent with state and local orders and that operators must be prepared to protect employees with higher risk for severe illness, including people aged 65 or older, people with chronic lung, liver or kidney disease, serious heart conditions, diabetes or moderate or severe asthma, immunosuppressed people, and severely obese people with a body mass index of 40 or higher.   

It also said the following health and safety actions must be in place:

• Promotion of healthy hygiene practices such as hand-washing and employees wearing cloth face coverings “as feasible”

• Intensified cleaning, sanitation, disinfection and ventilation

• Encourage social distancing and enhance spacing, including by encouraging drive-thru, delivery, curbside pickup, spacing of tables and stools, limiting party sizes and occupancy, avoiding self-serve stations, restricting employee shared spaces and rotating or staggering shifts “if feasible”

• Train employees on those health and safety protocols

Additionally, the following monitoring procedures must all be in place:

• Develop and implement procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees daily upon arrival, “as feasible”

• Encourage anyone who is sick to stay home

• Plan for if an employee gets sick

• Regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities and employees

• Monitor employee absences and have flexible leave policies and practices  

• Be ready to consult with the local health authorities if there are cases in your bar or restaurant, or if there is an increase in cases in the local area

If all of those conditions are in place, then the CDC says bars and restaurants can consider reopening, although they must continue to monitor their employees.

For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

Download the guidelines here.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.