Salad bars and buffets are also clarified in the latest orders. Salad bars and buffets must be discontinued unless they are “being used for cafeteria style service where a worker is responsible for serving the patron, handling the utensils, and ensuring proper distancing lines.”
Restaurants also must “verify that ware-washing machines are operating at the required wash and rinse temperatures, and with the appropriate detergents and sanitizers.”
“Many of these items are standard in the GA food code that are standard required procedures,” said Georgia Restaurant Association CEO Karen Bremer about the latest orders. “All restaurants must still follow all the rules in our food code.”
Georgia restaurants were permitted to reopen for dine-in service beginning April 27. Some eateries opened that very day, while others unlocked doors later in the week. Two weeks since, a slew of restaurants in greater Atlanta have opened with full-service operations or have announced plans to do so. On Friday, all 18 food vendors at Marietta Square Market will be back in operation, with guests enjoying the food on the patio.
The week of May 18, restaurant magnate Ford Fry will reopen his high-end steakhouse Marcel as well as Beetlecat in Inman Park for sit-down service.
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As operators take the big leap to reopen, they are sharing the steps they are taking to ensure the safety of employees and guests beyond those stipulated by state guidelines and health organizations.
Some eateries have enlisted technology to enable contact-free payments via mobile phones. Places like Murphy’s in Virginia-Highland have invested in state of the art air cleaning systems to bring ease-of-mind breathing to guests.
To ensure social distancing for dine-in experiences, Tamarind Restaurant Group, which operates Nan Thai Fine Dining, Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft, Tamarind Seed and Chai Yo Modern Thai, is only accepting reservations as opposed to walk-in patrons.
While the Georgia Restaurant Association continues to provide resources to restaurant owners on its website, other organizations have additional tools to help food-service operators apply best practices during the public health crisis.
On Wednesday, ServSafe, the nation's leader in food safety training, released guidance for restaurant reopenings. The free ServSafe videos includes best practices for safety, hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, and social distancing. In addition, local hospitality veteran David Abes and tech company MLevel have teamed up to create a platform for restaurant employee COVID-19 training.