Guidelines Offer a Glimpse at What L.A. Restaurants May Look Like When Dine-In Service Returns

Expect limited hours, frequent deep cleaning, and physical distancing

Wondering what it might be like to sit down for a meal at a local restaurant when Los Angeles allows dine-in service to resume? A “toolkit” posted to the city’s pandemic recovery website may offer some clues. It includes an extensive list of best practices for dine-in restaurants, as well as a 21-point checklist that a restaurant will have to be able to complete before reopening its dining room.

New protocols demand very clear signage regarding physical distancing, including roping off seats that are not to be used or using floor markings to indicate where customers should stand. Furniture should be rearranged to spread tables out at least six feet apart. Waitstaff will wear face masks, sometimes also gloves, and will be advised to minimize their contact with guests. Due to the frequent deep cleaning restaurants will require, the toolkit suggests limiting public business hours if needed.

All restaurant employees are advised to receive training on not just keeping themselves and the restaurant as safe and clean as possible, but should also be trained to detect symptoms in customers and carry out health screenings of their coworkers. Restaurant owners are encouraged to “explore non-punitive sick leave options” for employees who do contract the virus, though that is not stated as mandatory.

The document, reported on by Eater L.A. on Wednesday, also includes lists of resources available to businesses and training materials on how to communicate effectively with customers about how to behave safely while dining. One thing not in the toolkit is a specific statement on capacity caps, deferring that decision to county, rather than city, officials.

Even when dine-in service is allowed, at least for the early months, the guidelines encourage restaurants to continue to prioritize take-out and delivery service whenever possible.

RELATED: Retail Stores, Churches, Drive-Ins, and More Will Reopen in L.A. County and the City of L.A.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.