Starting on Monday, September 28, 2020, Massachusetts is updating its Restaurant regulations for following social distancing rules, including the increase in table size from 6 to 10 guests at each table.

Here is the full document, Sector Specific Workplace Safety Standards for Restaurants to address COVID-19, as of September 22, 2020

Governor Charlie Baker said at the press conference on September 22, “Bars are closed. Nightclubs are closed. But the evidence from other states with respect to this issue is clear. Restaurants can use bar seating for regular food service with appropriate distance in place.”

  • 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 10 people.

Bar seating is permitted, provided that either:

  • There are no active work areas or working staff behind the bar at least 6 ft away; or
  • There is a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglas) 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
  • In addition, parties must be seated at bars (no standing customer service) and parties must be spaced at least 6 ft from other parties
  • Subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be re-configured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards. Tables must not be placed within 6 feet of the staffed bartending area.

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

Here is the Safety and Standards and Checklist for Restaurants in Massachusetts.

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