Kentucky Restaurants Begin Opening with Limited Capacity Amid COVID-19 Epidemic

As part of the next phase of Healthy at Work/Reopening Kentucky, Kentucky restaurants have begun reopening for dining, while bars are not slated to reopen until June 29, 2020.  In addition to complying with Kentucky’s general Healthy at Work requirements, Kentucky restaurants must also comply with specific social distancing and other requirements. Most notably, restaurants must limit their indoor dining capacity to 33%, and not only are party sizes limited to 10 people, but persons not living within the same household should not permitted to sit at the same table. Restaurants should also maximize their use of outdoor seating. Restaurants must also maintain 6 feet of space between seated customers, i.e. no person can be within 6 feet of a person seated at another table.

Other steps restaurants must take with respect to customers include:

  • To the extent restaurants were already providing these services, continue to provide food and beverage curbside, takeout, and delivery services to the greatest extent practicable in order to minimize the number of people in a restaurant and the contacts between them.
  • Limit customer movement through the restaurant by informing customers they may travel to entries, exits, and the restroom only, unless their health or safety requires otherwise.
  • Establish a system for dealing with overflow capacity, including not allowing any new customers inside while the restaurant has reached capacity.
  • Consider adopting a reservations-only model or call-ahead seating.
  • Ensure employees wear face masks for any interactions with customers, co-workers, or in common travel areas.
  • Use disposable menus, napkins, table cloths, utensils, and condiments to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Discontinue the use of tablecloths and cloth napkins.
  • Discontinue self-service drink stations to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Discontinue salad bars or buffet-style dining to the greatest extent practicable, but where necessary, only employees, equipped with proper gloves and other PPE, may provide buffet service.
  • Limit the number of individuals in a restroom to ensure proper social distancing and devise procedures for proper disinfecting.

A complete copy of Kentucky’s restaurant specific requirements is available here.

Restaurants should also be mindful of any local county or municipal requirements governing reopening and dining operations.

The KMK Law Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team can assist restaurant owners with their reopening plans and offer guidance on taking appropriate measures with respect to restarting customer dining operations.

KMK Law articles and blog posts are intended to bring attention to developments in the law and are not intended as legal advice for any particular client or any particular situation. The laws/regulations and interpretations thereof are evolving and subject to change. Although we will attempt to update articles/blog posts for material changes, the article/post may not reflect changes in laws/regulations or guidance issued after the date the article/post was published. Please consult with counsel of your choice regarding any specific questions you may have.


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