Board of Health Passes Order on Restaurant Safety

Special to the Transcript

At an emergency meeting of the Winthrop Board of Health that was held on Sep. 25, the following order was passed regarding restaurant safety standards.

Pursuant to the declaration of a public health emergency on March 20, 2020, in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 111, Section 122, 310 CMR 11.05, 105 CMR 300.200 and all other authorizing statutes and regulations, we, the Winthrop Board of Health, in order to protect the public health during the COVID-19 public health emergency in light of current conditions, including an expected surge in COVID-19 cases, hereby issue the following order:

Whereas, on August 10, 2020, Governor Baker authorized the issuance  of Sector Specific Workplace Safety Standards for Restaurants to Address COVID-19, effective August  11, 2020 which, in part, limited the size of a party seated at a table to no more than six people, and prohibited bar seating; and

Whereas, the State Reopening Phase III Mandatory Safety Standards, recom-mended best practices and a checklist for restaurants issued by the Executive Of-fice of Housing and Economic Development, updated September 22, 2020 and ef-fective September 28, 2020 (‘September 22, 2020 Guidance’ https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-checklist-restaurants) amended the Sector Specific Workplace Safety Standards for Restaurants to Address COVID-19, effective August 11, 2020, by increasing the number of people authorized to sit at a table from a maximum of six people to a maximum of ten people; and

Whereas, the September 22, 2020 Guidance permitted Bar Seating with certain provisions;

Therefore, the Board of Health, at a duly posted Public Emergency Meeting on September 25, 2020, voted as follows:

1. The size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed ten people.

2. Bar seating is permitted provided that food will be served, and there is a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglass) separating customers from the bar space that is at least 30 inches high and a gap/opening at the bottom of the barrier is allowed for food and drink service as long as the gap/opening is no more than 8 inches high.

3. Bar seating will be limited to parties of two (2) people seated together (no standing customer service), and parties must be spaced at least six (6) feet from other parties.

4. Prior to serving customers at bar areas, the restaurant bar area(s) must be inspected by the Winthrop Inspectional Services Department.

5. Alcoholic beverages may only be served at tables and bar areas (for on-site consumption) if accompanied by food prepared on-site. Potato chips, pret-zels, and other similar pre-packaged, shelf-stable foods, or other food pre-pared off-site, do not constitute food “prepared on-site.” For each customer, an item of prepared food must be ordered at the same time as an initial al-coholic beverage order. One or more shareable food service item(s) may be ordered as long as it/they would sufficiently serve the number of people at the table or bar seating.

6. A time limit of (not to exceed) ninety (90) minutes is established for cus-tomer service at a table or at the bar area(s).

This Emergency Order shall be effective beginning Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 6:00 AM and remain in effect until notice is given, pursuant to the Board of Health’s judgment that the Public Health Emergency no longer exists. To the ex-tent necessary, this Order shall be enforced by Board of Health officials and their agents, and Building Inspectors. In all other respects, the September 22 2020 Guidance shall be in effect.

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