Foodservice Establishments

 

Effective Monday, June 1, at 6 a.m., all restaurants, bars, and other similar establishments that sell food and beverages for on-site consumption in Montgomery County are permitted to serve customers in outdoor seating areas after completing an easy registration process with the County (PDF). The County’s goal is to make this process as easy as possible so that restaurants can provide outdoor dining in a safe and responsible way. 

All businesses, organizations, establishments, and facilities that are permitted to operate under Executive Order for Phase 2 (PDF) shall, as a condition of their continued operation, comply with the General Operating Requirements.

Restaurants, bars, and other similar establishments that sell food or beverages for consumption on-premises in Montgomery County (“Restaurants and Bars”), and social and fraternal clubs (“Social Clubs”) with dining facilities may, to the extent permitted by applicable law

  • serve food and beverages to customers for consumption in indoor and outdoor seating areas; and
  • continue to sell food and beverages that are promptly taken from the premises, i.e., on a carry-out, drive-through, or delivery basis.

Foodservice establishments are prohibited from serving food in a buffet format.

Foodservice establishments must follow the Maryland Department of Health’s Directive and Order Regarding Food Service Establishments (PDF) (Order No. MDH 2020-06-10-01).

Foodservice establishments must post signage at each entrance advising customers and visitors that:

  • they must comply with the Face Coverings Order (PDF) at all times when they are not seated at a table or bar;
  • they must maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when waiting to be seated;
  • they must maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when seated at a bar; and
  • failure to wear face coverings as required or maintain social distancing may result in their being:
    1. refused service; and
    2. found to be in violation of the Executive Order for Phase 2 (PDF) and subject to criminal penalties as stated in paragraph 23 of this Order.

The term “indoor seating area” means a portion of a Foodservice Establishment that is an indoor area, as defined in COMAR 10.19.04.02.B(9).

The term “outdoor seating area” means a portion of a Foodservice Establishment that is not an indoor seating area.

Food or beverage services in health care facilities must remain closed in Phase 2.

Recommendations for Foodservice Establishments

Operations checklist

Restaurant should develop an operations plan, The plan should address the following:

  • Creation of a sitemap (including location of business staff, proposed signage of requirements, queue spacing among customers, seating, access to bathrooms, entry and exits to the line, hand sanitizer stations, if applicable).
  • Ensure proper sanitization protocols and supplies to include:
    • Sanitize all common items at each table seating, and consider using single-use utensils and condiments.  Also consider single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
    • Clean and sanitize all food-contact surfaces every 2 hours.
  • Ensure food-handling staff wear masks and gloves.
  • Prepare online reservation and ordering systems whenever possible to keep customer logs to facilitate contact tracing.
  • Speak with your staff to assess who is ready and willing to return and inform them of your operations plan.

Implementation checklist

Restaurants should develop an implementation plan, addressing the following:

  • Communication strategy, both before and during hours of operation, to inform the public and staff of the safety requirements.
  • Communication strategy regarding safety requirements for customers, both before and during hours of operation.
  • Method for monitoring and ensuring compliance with safety requirements for employees.
  • Proposed measures should an employee or employer fail to comply with safety requirements.
  • Staffing needed to address concerns or potential violations, and show the location of applicable staff on the site plan.

Closure plan checklist

In the event restaurant operation must modify due to a health incident or executive order, the business should be prepared to initiate a closure plan. The closure plan should address the following:

  • Proposed steps the restaurant will take to close.
  • If closure or modified operations is mandated through an executive order.
  • Communications to employees and customers about the modified operations or closure.

Easy Steps for Outdoor Dining

Easy Steps for Outdoor Dining for printing (PDF)

Scenario #1

If your facility is currently permitted to have outdoor dining/alcohol service and you simply want to reopen this service under the new guidelines, you will need to:

  1. Register your establishment’s interest in providing outdoor dining under the COVID-19 guidelines with the County’s Department of Permitting Services.
  2. Review Montgomery County’s reopening Restaurants Checklist (image) - and follow the recommendations.

Scenario #2

If you are currently permitted for dining/alcohol service and wish to modify your existing space or create a new outdoor area, you will need to:

  1. Register your establishment’s interest in providing outdoor dining under the COVID-19 guidelines with the County’s Department of Permitting Services.
  2. Review Montgomery County’s reopening Restaurants Checklist (image) - and follow the recommendations.
  3. Apply for a “Temporary Business Modification” (extended outdoor space) with the County’s Alcohol Beverage Services unit.

Outdoor Dining Registration and Temporary Business Modifications will be in effect the day of application! A County representative will be in touch after your submission to offer assistance. 

Scenario #3

If you are a property owner, business organization, or group of businesses interested in creating “streeteries,” communal dining areas, temporary consumption areas, dining in public spaces and the like, please send an email to outdoordiningcovid19@montgomerycountymd.gov and we will be happy to guide you through this process.