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Updates

9-29-21

  • Effective November 1, 2021: Operators of Mega Events must cross-check proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 viral test results for attendees who are 18 years or older against photo identification.

9-20-21:

  • Reflects recent changes to the County Health Officer Order, which (effective 10-07-2021) requires bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges to verify, for indoor service and operations, the COVID-19 vaccination status of all patrons ages 12 and over. By November 4, 2021, all on-site employees must provide their employer with proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
  • In addition, all attendees ages 12 and over at Mega Events must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a pre-entry (diagnostic) test result prior to entry. Operators of restaurants and food facilities are strongly encouraged to reserve and prioritize indoor seating/service for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For more information, see the Health Officer Order page.
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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
Adhere to 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
Risk levels
  • 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 time and may remove their face masks to actively eat or drink. Mega Events are also higher risk for COVID-19 transmission because the 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 if someone present is infected. Public Health offers the following actions to enhance safety and lower transmission risks at these venues. See the DPH Business Compliance Toolkit for helpful resources.
Food and beverage
  • Nightclubs, lounges, breweries, wineries, and distilleries: To enhance safety and lower the risk of transmission in indoor beverage service areas at bars, the Health Officer Order nightclubs, lounges, breweries, wineries, and distilleries to:
    •  October 7- November 3, 2021: Verify that all indoor patrons ages 12 and over have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before they are permitted to be seated or served or to take part in activities in the indoor portions of the venue.
    • Beginning November 4, 2021: Verify that 1) all indoor patrons ages 12 and over are fully vaccinated before they are permitted entry to be seated or served or to take part in any activities in the indoor portions of the venue and 2) all on-site employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. See the LA County Health Officer Order for details related to on-site employees and vaccination requirements.
    • See the Vaccine Verification Guide for more information on verifying vaccination status.
    • Patrons who do not provide proof of vaccination prior to entry may continue to be seated and served and to take part in activities in the outdoor portions of the venue. The risk of exposure to the virus that cause COVID-19 is lower outdoors than indoors and increases with crowding if someone present is infected.
    • Individuals who do not provide proof of vaccination may be permitted to enter the indoor portion of the facility temporarily for limited purposes such as to make a delivery or pick-up, to provide a service or repair, for an emergency or regulatory visit, to utilize the restroom, or to pick-up/pay for a to-go order.
Stadium
  • Mega Events: Mega Events include indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees and outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees. Examples of Mega Events include, but are not limited to: conventions, conferences, expose, concerts, shows, sporting events, live entertainment, fairs, festivals, parades, theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, marathons or endurance races and car shows. To enhance safety and lower the risk of transmission at Mega Events, the Health Officer Order requires:
    • All attendees at Indoor Mega Events to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a pre-entry (diagnostic) test result prior to entry. Attestation is no longer sufficient to prove vaccination or test status. See the Vaccine Verification Guide and Negative Test Verification Guide for more information.
    • Beginning October 7, 2021, all attendees ages 12 and over at Outdoor Mega Events to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a pre-entry (diagnostic) test result, taken within 72 hours prior to entry.
    • Beginning November 1, 2021, Operators of Outdoor Mega Events must cross-check proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 viral test result for attendees who are 18 years or older against photo identification.
    • After September 20, 2021, attendees can no longer self-attest to prove vaccination status or a negative test result as per the State. See the Vaccine Verification Guide and Negative Test Verification Guide for more information.
Dinner plate with fork and knife
  • Restaurants and other food facilities: To enhance the safety and lower the risk of transmission in indoor food and beverage service areas, operators of restaurants and other food facilities should consider the following:
    • For indoor food or beverage service, reserve indoor spaces as much as possible for persons that provide proof of their full vaccination against COVID-19 prior to entry. Seat those who do not provide proof of being fully vaccinated in an outdoor service area whenever possible. COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors than outdoors. The risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVDI-19 is lower outdoors than indoors and increases with crowding if someone present is infected.
Follow Mask Rules for Customers and Employees
Wear a mask
  • 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. 
N95 respirator
  • 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 for voluntary use, 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: ph.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 if they work 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
Screening
  • 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
Social distancing
  • 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
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
Wash hands
  • 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
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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