The CDC released a flowchart to determine if a restaurant or bar should reopen

By Sarah Al-Arshani

As more states slowly lift stay-at-home orders, the Center for Disease Control has issued guidelines for reopening restaurants and bars.

The guidelines presented in a flowchart, begin by asking some basic questions on whether the states or locality the businesses has allowed them to reopen, and if the organization can protect employees who are at high risk. If the answer to either of those questions is "no," the business should not open. 

restaurants and bars decision tree
CDC

However, if the answer to both questions is "yes," then the organization must assess, based on a number of questions, if recommended health and safety precautions are in place. If the organization checks off the criteria, which includes things like promoting hygiene, and intensified cleaning, they should move on to assess if they have an ongoing monitoring system for the virus.

If the business is able to check employees for signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, plan for employees getting sick, among other things then they're good to reopen. 

But as states begin to phase through re-openings, they've issued their own guidelines for dine-in restaurants. In California for instance, Governor Gavin Newsom said restaurants must ensure guests are six feet apart, customers must wear masks when not eating, menus should be disposable, bar areas should be closed to customers, dining areas should be thoroughly disinfected after each customer, windows and doors should remain open to increase air circulation, and communal condiments like salt and pepper shakers should be replaced with single-serving packets.

In Washington state, restaurants in counties that are cleared to reopen must "create a daily log of customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in," according to the order.

However, many experts have warned that states reopening before lowing the number of infections, could mean another wave of infections. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert has warned that re-opening too soon could mean "needless suffering and death."

Fauci warned that the US doesn't have the capacity to test people for the virus and conduct adequate contact tracing, which he says is critical for lifting stay-at-home orders. 

"If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: 'Open America Again,' then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country," Fauci wrote in an email to The New York Times. "This will not only result in needless suffering and death but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal."