new edition of the COVID-19 safe operating guidance FOR RESTAURANTS

As the restaurant industry continues to operate during the pandemic, the National Restaurant Association and leaders from ServSafe’s food safety training program continue to collaborate with safety experts from government organizations, academia, the public health sector, and corporations to bring operators the most up-to-date guidelines to ensure safe on- and off-premises dining.

Formerly the COVID-19 Restaurant Reopening Guidance, the latest edition is entitled COVID-19 Safe Operating Guidance and continues to offer direction and provide a science-based framework of best practices for restaurants operating under new COVID-19 rules and regulations.

As with the prior two versions, this guidance document is meant to be used in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code guidelines, all practices recommended and/or required by state and local health officials for restaurants operating during the pandemic, and by

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

The guidance continues to focus on food safety, cleaning and sanitizing, employee health monitoring and personal hygiene, and social distancing (people and spaces). Each section includes a list of actionable items an operation should consider as it evaluates its safety procedures. 

Key updates include:

  • A new section on preparing workplaces for COVID-19, which addresses layouts and ventilation.

  • Additional guidance on when and where face coverings should be worn in the restaurant and how to de-escalate confrontations over policy.

  • Additional information on addressing employee personal hygiene and health including updates on front-of-house glove use (discouraged) and considerations when an employee has been exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive.

  • Updated guidance on providing ServSafe Food Handler training, and access to free ServSafe COVID-19 training videos for all employees.

You can download a copy of the new guidance document at


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