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BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration will release a checklist and a safety standards sheet for restaurants that for their re-opening, post the pandemic, in phase 2.

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito spoke about some of the rules today, during a 2 p.m. press conference.

Phase II is scheduled to start on June 6.

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The rules include:

  • Tables must be at least six feet away from each other unless barriers are set up.
  • No more than six people per party
  • Diners cannot sit at bars. Vars are still closed. Tables can be set up in a bar area
  • All Customers have to be seated. No standing.
  • All diners & employees must wear masks at all times. Diners when they are seated can remove mask to eat.
  • Buffets must remain closed, unless there is staff working them.
  • Utensils, place settings and menus must be single-use or sanitized after each use.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to maximize outdoor dining space as long as they receive city/town approval.

 The Administration will determine the start of Phase II on June 6th.

On Monday, Governor Charlie Baker will issue an executive order with a detailed list of sectors that fall into each phase.

The order will allow Phase II businesses to bring back employees in preparation for re-opening. 

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Outdoor dining will begin at the start of Phase II.

Indoor dining will begin later within Phase II, subject to public health data.

Even when indoor seating is permitted, use of outdoor space will be encouraged for all restaurants.

Restaurants will be expected to follow cleaning and disinfecting guidelines, in accordance with CDC guidance. This includes closing an establishment temporarily if there is a case of COVID-19 in an establishment.




When indoor table service is permitted, restaurants are encouraged to structure operations to operate as much as possible through outdoor table service and to strictly limit indoor table service in order to assure effective compliance with social distancing requirements and to limit activities within confined spaces

Restaurants must comply with the following sector specific social distancing rules for providing dining services in all customer seating areas:

• Tables must be positioned so to maintain at least a 6 foot distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas (e.g., routes to bathrooms, entrances, exits); tables may be positioned closer if separated by protective / non-porous barriers (e.g., structural walls or plexiglass dividers) not less than 6 feet high installed between tables and high foot traffic areas

• The size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed 6 people

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• Restaurants may not seat any customers at the bar, but subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be reconfigured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards

• All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited

• Restaurants may provide carry-out or delivery service, but all safety standards for table separation, size of party, and hygiene must be
maintained for any indoor or outdoor table seating that is available to carry-out patrons

• All other amenities and areas not employed for food and beverage service (e.g., dance floors, pool tables, playgrounds, etc.) must be closed or removed to prevent gathering of customers*

Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between all individuals (workers, vendors, and customers) unless this creates a safety hazard due to the
nature of the work or the configuration of the workspace:

• Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas)
to allow 6 feet of physical distancing; redesign work stations to ensure physical distancing (e.g., separate tables, stagger workstations on
either side of processing lines so workers are not face-to-face, use distance markers to assure spacing including in the kitchen area)

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• Establish directional hallways and passageways for foot traffic if possible, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to the restaurant). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies

• Prohibit lingering in common areas (e.g., waiting areas, bathrooms) and ensure social distancing in common areas by marking 6 feet spacing
with tape or paint on the floor and signage

• All customer-facing workers (e.g., servers, bus staff) must minimize time spent within 6 feet of customers Designate assigned working areas to workers where possible to limit movement throughout the restaurant and limit contact between workers (e.g., assigning zones to servers)

Stagger work schedules and staff meal and break times, regulating maximum number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of
physical distancing

Minimize the use of confined spaces (e.g., elevators, vehicles) by more than one individual at a time

Require face coverings for all customers and workers at all times, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to
medical condition or disability

Improve ventilation for enclosed spaces where possible (e.g., open doors and windows)

Customers may remove face coverings while seated at tables

All workers must wash their hands frequently, and table servers must wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer between each table interaction

Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, and allow sufficient break time for workers to wash hands frequently; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative

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Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances, exits, and in the dining area

Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)

Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers and customers of hygiene and safety protocols

Self-serve, unattended buffets, topping bars, drink stations, and other communal serving areas must remain closed

Condiments and similar products (e.g., salt, pepper, and salad dressing) should not be pre-set on tables and should instead only be provided upon request either in single-serving portions (e.g., individual packages or cups) or in serving containers that are sanitized between each use

Menus must be one of the following: 1) paper, single-use menus disposed after each use, 2) displayed menu (e.g., digital, whiteboard, chalkboard), 3) electronic menus viewed on customers’ phones / mobile devices

Utensils and place settings must be either single-use or sanitized after each use; utensils should be rolled or packaged.

Tables should not be pre-set to reduce opportunity for exposure

Tables and chairs must be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly between each seating


When possible, reservations or call ahead seating should be encouraged; managers must ensure that diners waiting for tables do not congregate in common areas or form lines

Restaurants may not provide customers with buzzers or other devices to provide alerts that seating is available or orders are ready; restaurants should instead use no-touch methods such as audio announcements, text messaging, and notices on fixed video screens or blackboards

Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing
disease transmission, including:

• Social distancing, hand-washing, and requirement and proper use of face coverings

• Modifying practices for serving in order to minimize time spent within 6 feet of customers

• Self-screening at home, including temperature or symptom checks

• Reinforcing that staff may not come to work if sick

• When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe

• Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
Restaurant operators should establish adjusted workplace hours and shifts for workers to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion at entry points

Limit visitors and vendors on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas

Workers should not appear for work if feeling ill

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Restaurants must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:

• Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.3 and above), cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat;

• Worker has not had ‘close contact’ with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a
person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic

• Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official

• Workers who are sick or feeling ill must be sent home.

Anyone showing signs of illness may be denied entry

If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer should notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) where the workplace is located and work with them to trace likely contacts in the workplace and advise workers to isolate and self-quarantine

Notify workers that they may not work if they test positive for COVID-19 (they should be isolated at home) or are found to be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (they should be quarantined at home)

Testing of other staff may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH. Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in government guidelines

Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace Designate the Person in Charge (105 CMR 590) for each shift to oversee implementation of the guidelines in this document

Restaurants will be allowed to maximize outdoor dining space, including patios and parking lots where available, where municipal approval is obtained

When taking reservations and when seating walk-in customers, restaurants should retain a phone number of someone in the party for possible contact tracing

Encourage use of technological solutions where possible to reduce person-to-person interaction (e.g., contactless payment, mobile ordering, text on arrival for seating)

Workers who are particularly high risk to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home or arrange an alternate work assignment

Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer

Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contacttracing

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Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines

Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning

Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, elevator buttons, staircases)

Implement procedures to increase cleaning / disinfecting in the back-of-house. Avoid all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants.

Food contact surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized before use with a sanitizer approved for food contact surfaces. Non-food contact surfaces must be frequently cleaned

In the event of a presumptive or actual positive COVID-19 case of a worker, patron, or vendor, the restaurant must be immediately shut down for 24 hours and then must be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with current CDC guidance before re-opening

For full restaurant guidance, click here.

Here is the restaurant checklist.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.