With Gov. Sisolak announcement of Nevada entering into Phase 1 of its staggered reopening plan on May 9, it effectively enabled dine-in restaurants across the Las Vegas valley to reopen at half capacity.
Now, the City of Las Vegas found an even more creative solution to serving patrons. Restaurants within the area spanning across the Arts District, Fremont East, and the heart of Downtown LV can now temporarily expand their restaurant sitting out onto the sidewalk.
Cooking is prohibited on sidewalks, and music can only be played from inside the restaurant, not outside on the sidewalk patio.
In addition, sidewalk patios cannot overlap with adjacent businesses by over 50 feet. To not run into the issue of overlapping with other businesses, which could easily happen especially in Fremont East district where restaurants like Le Thai, a popular Thai restaurant downtown, are right next door to bars and other restaurants, the city recommends that neighboring businesses come together to work on their outdoor seating plans.
As of right now, casinos and bars remain closed, but there is a strong possibility they could be opening back up by the end of the month or in early June.
Restaurant Reopening Guidelines in NV
After nearly two months, Nevadans can finally enjoy a meal inside a restaurant. Previous directives allowed for only carry out orders and deliveries through services like Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, or UberEats for restaurants who remain opened during the lockdown.
This is a big leap forward for the Silver State, whose economy was rocked by the coronavirus outbreak. Of course, reopening restaurants amid an active outbreak requires that things look a little bit different for a while.
One of the biggest restrictions for reopening is that restaurants can only allow 50 percent seating capacity, per the local fire code. This is the first step in following social distancing guidelines, as it caps the number of people in a restaurant building at once. Seating is also prohibited in the bar area of any restaurant.
Tables will be spaced six feet apart, and restaurant staff are wearing masks while they serve customers. Customers are also being encouraged to wear masks while dining as well. Sisolak is encouraging restaurant operators to go by reservations in order to monitor the number of patrons entering into their facility.
For pubs, bars, breweries, and wineries that normally serve food, they’ve also been allowed to reopen to serve food strictly and out of the bar area.
Southern Nevada Health District’s Guidance for Restaurants Reopening in Phase 1
The Southern Nevada Health District has provided its COVID-19 guidance for food establishments reopening in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, as well as a checklist for operators to run through.
Trained and Prepared Staff
Employee health screenings should be assessed upon arrival daily. Pre-shift meetings in a space that allows for social distancing should be conducted daily where staff reviews COVID-19 procedures for operation, including proper use and care of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing guidelines, hand hygiene protocols, proper glove use and food handling measures.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
A cleaning and disinfecting plan for high-touch surfaces and access areas should be thoughtfully developed, as well as training staff on how to properly disinfect tables and chairs after every guest use.
Whenever possible, food establishments are being encouraged to use disposable dining ware instead, including utensils, cups, and plates.
Measures for keeping the facility equipped with a fresh and safe water supply must also be followed.
Back of House Areas
Restaurant management is being encouraged to stagger employee shifts to avoid large groups of employees from gathering in back-of-house corridors and service elevators.
Social distancing signage in multiple languages should be posted in visible areas in the facility, as well as social distancing floor markers for areas where employees gather or wait in lines, such as time clocks, locker rooms, and uniform control rooms.
Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers should be provided at employee entrances or areas where high-contact items are used, such as time clocks.
Employees should be constantly reminded to wear face coverings throughout their shift.
Front of House Areas
An adjusted floor plan to reduce occupancy per the State and Federal guidelines of allowing 6 feet distance between tables should be implemented.
Various signage should be posted as critical reminders. Signage types include:
- Social distancing signage clearly posted in visible areas to remind patrons to keep their safe distance while in the establishment.
- Signage on the proper use of face coverings.
- Signage directing customers who have symptoms of COVID-19 or underlying health conditions of their delivery options.
Providing touchless hand sanitizer dispensers at entrances or other high-traffic areas of the establishment. Reservations are also being encouraged to limit the number of people in indoor and outdoor waiting areas, to maintain social distancing between waiting parties.
Consider switching to a menu board to limit multiple guests touching individual menus.
Removing all customer self-service condiments and utensils, and not presetting tables with utensils.
Refills on water or beverages should also be done at the table, or by leaving a pitcher for guests to self-pour.
Note: As of right now, buffets and self-service establishments are suspended until further notice.
It’s good to see the positive momentum going with food establishment reopening in Las Vegas and statewide.
Restaurants in casinos have also been allowed to reopen in Phase 1, granted that there is a street, outdoor seating option to keep guests from entering onto the casino floors.
What do you think of Downtown Las Vegas temporarily allowing sidewalk dining? Will you be heading out to enjoy a curbside meal soon?
We’d love to hear your thoughts below! Be sure to check back for more coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.