Updated Operating Guidelines cover new OSHA employee protections
As summer progresses and more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, restaurants continue to fully reopen. As of mid-June, only 12 states and Puerto Rico still had capacity restrictions.
With more people dining on-premises, it’s critically important for operators to take the time to walk employees through best practices for safe dining.
“The Association and its state partners remain committed to helping operators protect their employees and guests, and this updated Operating Guidance leads the way in doing that,” says Larry Lynch, senior vice president of Science & Industry.
“While the spread of COVID-19 is in decline, it’s important to remember that outbreaks are still happening in communities across the country. That, combined with the release of OSHA’s latest guidelines, is giving us an opportunity to help restaurants understand how to operate in this new environment, where vaccinated people can remove their masks and reduce social distancing in many circumstances.”
The new version of the Guidance incorporates changes reflecting the new OSHA guidelines for protecting workers.
Key among them: Most employers no longer need to take steps to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure where all employees are fully vaccinated.
However, there are still steps to be taken to protect employees who are either unvaccinated or otherwise at risk in the workplace. The OSHA guidelines recommend:
- Granting paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and taking advantage of tax credits (for employers of fewer than 500 employees) for providing PTO to workers getting vaccinated
- Instructing workers to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms or are infected, or if they’re unvaccinated and have had close contact with someone who’s tested positive
- Providing unvaccinated or other at-risk employees with face coverings
- Suggesting that unvaccinated customers, visitors or guests wear face coverings in the workplace.
- Maintaining ventilation systems
- Performing routine cleaning and disinfection if someone in the facility is suspected of having or is confirmed to have COVID-19
- Educating employees about existing and emerging policies for safe restaurant dining in the current operating climate
Download the latest guidance here