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Arizona restaurants can reopen dining rooms on May 11: What you need to know

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Posted at 3:43 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 07:17:24-04

PHOENIX — Restaurants in Arizona can begin opening their dining rooms for service beginning on Monday, May 11 as long as they have strict social distancing guidelines in place, Arizona. Governor Doug Ducey announced during a press conference on Monday.

Among those guidelines (according to Gov. Ducey's presentation):

- Maintaining social distancing, including limiting groups to no more than 10 people
- Reduced occupancy and capacity
- Limited areas prone to congregating, such as waiting areas
- Implementing sanitation protocols
- Screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms prior to their shift

Restaurants will also remain open for to-go, curbside pickup, and delivery orders, Ducey said.


Following his press conference, Ducey released a more formal list of opening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services for restaurants, customers, and restaurant employees:

Those include:

  • Encouraging customers to stay home if sick, including those considered to be most at risk (65 and older and those with underlying health conditions)
  • Encouraging customers to maintain a 6-foot distance from one another; to avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Wash hands before and after eating
  • Assigning vulnerable restaurant employees to duties not involving customers
  • Consider offering employees masks; develop policies about wearing masks or cloth coverings when interacting with the public
  • Making sure restaurant workers are washing hands, covering their coughs and/or sneezes
  • Increasing cleaning and sanitizing of food surfaces, prep areas, beverage areas and other high-touch surfaces
  • Avoid sharing menus, condiments, or food
  • Use touchless payment methods, if possible. If not, wipe down surfaces after every interaction.

The Arizona Restaurant Association, which has been working with Ducey's office to determine restaurant guidelines, also released its own set of recommendations. Many of them are similar to those already listed above. However, a few of their recommendations included:

  • Having customers view a restaurant's menu from their phones, placing menu boards throughout the restaurant, using single-use menus, or using laminated menus that can be cleaned after each use
  • Cleaning areas touched by customers, including tablecloths, chairs, booths, and door handles

"We are thrilled as an industry to reopen restaurants and return to business in accordance with the new guidelines set forth by Governor Ducey today,” said Arizona Restaurant Association CEO Steve Chucri. “Most importantly, there will be many procedures in place by restaurateurs to ensure the utmost safety and health of diners and staff.” Chucri is also an elected member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.