Takeout programs should maintain social distancing
In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a mandate earlier this month forcing New York restaurants and bars to close their doors to the public. Once that happened, many of these eateries switched to an acceptable form of service: takeout and delivery.
Though the goal was to encourage social distancing while still keeping patrons fed, it appears some restaurants have inadvertently neglected the six-feet-apart rule. As such, both the Erie County and Niagara County departments of health issued additional guidance this week.
In a press release, the ECDOH stated, “In response to many questions about restaurants and takeout food, we are reminding Erie County residents that, even with the shift to takeout-only services, restaurants still have to follow all food safety and sanitary regulations. Public health sanitarians are inspecting food facilities that remain open.”
The department explained just how takeout should work:
√ Order by phone and charge via credit card
√ Customer calls when they arrive
√ No interaction between restaurant and customers picking up order
√ Food placed in vehicle trunk
In Niagara County, the Department of Health stated, “Restaurant seating is not allowed at this time. Restaurants providing takeout/delivery have been required to take steps to allow for adequate social distancing for patrons at pick-up locations. This includes facilitation of social distancing of at least six feet."
“Social distancing remains a critical protective action all persons should take. Maintaining a distance of approximately 6 feet from others, when possible, is key for those utilizing restaurant services for takeout or delivery,” Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said.
Additionally, a press release added, “If you have questions or concerns regarding the environmental health food service program, please call 716-439-7444.”