TRENTON, NJ — When your favorite steakhouse or burger joint opens for outdoor dining next week, limited seating, spread out tables and hand sanitizing stations — not to mention the house specialty — will be on the menu.
Gov. Phil Murphy outlined a series of guidelines Thursday for the thousands of bars and restaurants across the state to follow when they begin to welcome back patrons on June 15.
Although non-essential retail businesses will follow familiar rules that have been observed for months at supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential businesses, there could be a decided lack of ambiance but an abundance of caution at bars and restaurants.
Executive Order 150 will require them to seat no more than eight at a table, with tables situated at least six feet apart and diners sitting at least six feet from each other.
Items such as menus and condiments will be required to be disinfected after each use, and buffets, salad bars and self-serve beverage stations will be prohibited.
Restaurants will be required to erect physical barriers for workers at cash registers, bars and host stands.
State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said restaurants will take reservations. Diners who pull up only to find their table isn't ready should wait in their cars for the restaurant workers to contact them.
Some of the guidelines outlined will need to be followed by both dining and retail establishments. For example, restaurant and retail workers will be required to undergo daily temperature and COVID-19 symptom checks. Workers exhibiting symptoms will be sent home. Workers will have to wear face coverings at all times and gloves will be required when handling food and utensils to customers.
And in both restaurants and retail, touchpoints such as credit card machines and keypads will be required to be frequently sanitized.
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