Revised Guidance Incorporates New OSHA Recommendations

As more restaurants fully reopen and more staff return to work, The National Restaurant Association has updated its recommended operating guidelines for restaurants to include new OSHA employee protections.

“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 and 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, now in its sixth edition, notes that most employers no longer need to take steps to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure in instances where all employees are fully vaccinated. For those places where employees are still either unvaccinated or at risk, the changes to the guidance include:

  • 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

The complete updated guidance is available here.