WorkSafeBC’s guidelines for reopening restaurants released

Restaurant rules published

Dining out in British Columbia restaurants may look a little different once restaurants and pubs start to reopen their doors next week.

On Friday, WorkSafeBC released its industry-specific guidelines for businesses planning to reopen next week, including those for restaurants, pubs and cafes. Restaurants must publicly post their COVID-19 safety plan, but WorkSafe specifically notes that businesses “do not need a formal plan in place to begin operation, but are expected to develop it while protecting the safety of your workers.”

The most important guidelines revolve around maintaining physical distance between customers, which means having a maximum of six guests at each table and ensuring there is two metres between tables.

While recommendations by the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association included the possibility of using plexiglass barriers between tables, this has not been mentioned in WorkSafe guidelines, although a barrier at the bar and pay stations is recommended.

The BCRFA also brought up the possibility of employees wearing masks and gloves, but WorkSafe’s guidelines only say employers “may consider the use of masks” if maintaining a two-metre distance from other workers and guests is not possible.

And while it probably goes without saying, the guidelines recommend avoiding handshakes, fist bumps and high-fives with customers.

Rather than have reusable menus that one could contract the virus from, WorkSafe recommends using large digital or chalkboard menus that can be seen from all tables, or consider using disposable menus.

Additionally, things like communal salt and pepper shakers should be removed from tables, and guests should do things like distribute their food around the table when it comes and pour their own water.

Enhanced cleaning procedures, especially in high-touch areas, is also referenced repeatedly in the guidelines.

The full list of guidelines can be found on WorkSafeBC’s website here, although the site has had some issues loading Friday, likely due to increased traffic.

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