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Updates

8-19-21:

  • Reflects recent changes to the Health Officer Order, which (effective 8-19-21) requires all individuals aged 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face mask in all indoor public settings and while attending outdoor Mega Events (outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees).
  • Customers who are actively eating or drinking must be seated or positioned at a table, counter, or other stationary location. “Actively eating or drinking” refers to the limited time when customers are permitted to briefly remove the mask to eat or drink, after which it must be immediately put back on. The customer must wear a mask whenever they are not actively eating or drinking, such as when they are waiting to be served, between courses or drinks, or while seated after finishing the food and drink.
  • Public Health recommends that for indoor dining, establishments require full vaccination of customers rather than a negative COVID-19 test result.
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Introduction

Given the ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 and the presence of the Delta variant, masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status, is essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The Delta variant of the virus spreads much more easily than strains of the virus that circulated in LA in the past.

Per published reports, factors that increase the risk of infection, including transmission to people more than 6 feet away, include:

  • Enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation or air handling that allow for build-up of exhaled respiratory fluids, especially very fine droplets and aerosol particles, in the air space.
  • Increased exhalation of respiratory fluids that can occur when an infectious person is engaged in physical exertion or raises their voice (e.g., exercising, shouting, singing).
  • Prolonged exposure to these conditions.

Below is a summary of requirements and best practices for businesses that serve food and beverages, such as restaurants, bars, night clubs, lounges, breweries, wineries and distilleries to enhance safety for their workers, customers, and communities, and lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission within their establishments. In addition to this information, please remember:

  • Employers must follow Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and the County Health Officer Order. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed where they are more stringent than the Cal/OSHA ETS.
  • Food facilities must continue to adhere to all food safety practices outlined in the California Retail Food Code (CRFC).

Please be sure to read and follow the general guidance for businesses & employers.
The specific best practices below are intended to supplement the general guidance.

Adhere to the California Retail Food Code
  • Food facilities must continue to adhere to all food safety practices outlined in the California Retail Food Code (CRFC).
    • Self-service operations (e.g., buffets, soda-dispensing, bulk-food bins, food sampling) may be offered; continue to periodically check these areas as required and clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces regularly.
    • Refilling beverages at a table or from a common container is no longer prohibited.
    • Self-service areas with condiment caddies, utensil caddies, napkins, lids, straws, may be offered for customer self-service.
Best Practices to Enhance Safety at Higher-Risk Settings that Serve Food and Beverages
  • Higher Risk Settings: Places that serve food and beverages to customers indoors are considered higher-risk settings because persons, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, are often indoors for an extended period of time and may remove their face masks to actively eat or drink. Public Health offers the following actions to enhance safety and lower transmission risks at restaurants, bars, night clubs, lounges, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food to the public. Food and beverages are often also served and consumed at Mega Events.
    • Mega Events are also higher risk for COVID-19 transmission because attendees are spending long periods of time physically close to large numbers of people they don't usually interact with, thereby increasing the risk that respiratory particles will be transmitted between attendees and participants.
  • Customers: All customers, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks when they are indoors and when attending an outdoor Mega Event (events with more than 10,000 attendees). Make masks available for those who arrive without them.
    • Masks must be worn except when customers are actively eating and drinking. When actively eating and drinking indoors, customers must be seated or positioned at a table, counter, or other stationary location. “Actively eating or drinking” refers to the limited time during which the mask can be briefly removed to eat or drink, after which it must be immediately put back on. The customer must wear a mask whenever they are not actively eating or drinking, such as when they are waiting to be served, between courses or drinks, or while still seated after finishing the food or drink.
    • To enhance safety and lower the risk of transmission in indoor food or beverage service areas, consider the following:
      • For indoor food or beverage service, use indoor spaces as much as possible for persons that provide verification that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Seat those who are not verified as being fully vaccinated in an outdoor service area whenever possible.
      • See additional suggestions for indoor ventilation, business signage, and indoor spacing of customers below.
  • Employees*: All employees, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks when working indoors, in shared vehicles, or at an outdoor Mega Event. Masks need not be worn indoors if the employee is alone in a room or actively eating or drinking. Public Health strongly recommends that all employees who are eating or drinking indoors be spaced at least 6 feet from other persons.
    • Upon request, employers are required to provide employees who are not fully vaccinated with the correct-size respirator along with basic instructions on how to use the respirator. Respirators must be replaced if they get damaged, deformed, dirty, or difficult to breathe through. For more information about free and low-cost PPE for businesses and organizations see: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/docs/FreeAndLowCostPPE.pdf.
    • Employees who work in a setting where they are in close contact with other people who may not be fully vaccinated should be encouraged to wear a higher level of protection, such as “double-masking” (wearing a cloth mask OVER a surgical mask) or a respirator. This is particularly important if the employee is not fully vaccinated and is working in an indoor setting, in a crowded outdoor setting, or in a shared vehicle.
    • Consider requiring staff to also wear eye protection in addition to a respirator if they are not fully vaccinated and have frequent close contact with others, in particular in the food and beverage service areas where customers are actively eating or drinking.
    • See the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order page and the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards page for more information about mask requirements. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed when they are more stringent than the Cal/OSHA temporary standards.

* Some independent contractors are considered as employees under the State Labor Code. For more details and clarification, check the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Independent contractor versus employee webpage.

Screen customers, vendors, and delivery people
  • Post signage to remind everyone who enters your establishment that they should NOT enter if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are under isolation or quarantine orders.
Reduce crowding indoors
  • If possible, maintain or expand your outdoor dining capacity to enable more customers to eat outside where ventilation is better.
  • Indoors, limit your occupancy if it does not disrupt your operations by arranging tables to increase physical distance between tables.
  • Control access to self-service areas, such as buffets, salad bars, and beverage service stations so as to avoid customers congregating; place servers when possible, to eliminate customer use of common utensils and dispensers.
Ventilate
  • Continue to maintain your building’s HVAC system in good, working order.
  • Consider installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in all working areas.
  • When weather and working conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Consider using fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows - position window fans to blow air outward, not inward.
  • Decrease occupancy in areas where outdoor ventilation cannot be increased.
  • Keep your background music volume low so that customers and employees do not have to talk loudly to be heard.
  • See State Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
Support handwashing
  • Place handwashing signs at handwashing sinks inside restroom facilities reminding patrons to wash their hands. Food employees are required to wash their hands as outlined in the CRFC.
  • Continue to encourage frequent handwashing by employees.
  • Continue to offer hand sanitizer at entry of facility with signage promoting use.
  • Posters in multiple languages that remind people to wash or sanitize their hands and show how to wash their hands are available in the signage section.
Communicate
  • Post signage so that customers who are entering your establishment are aware of your policies, including the requirement that all customers must wear a face mask while indoors except when actively eating and drinking.
  • Staff should remind customers that they need to put their face masks back on when they are not actively eating or drinking, such as when they are waiting to be served, between courses or drinks, or while seated after finishing the food and drink. Customers should be encouraged to minimize the amount of time with their face mask off to help reduce the risk for employees and for customers while eating or drinking.
  • Use your online platforms to communicate your COVID-19 safety policies to the public.
  • Consider using a reservation system to keep the number of people in your establishment steady and/or using an online waiting list that enables customers who are waiting for a table to wait outside or in their cars instead of indoors.

 


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Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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