NYS GUIDELINES FOR YOUR SAFETY, AND OURS…
Customers can take off face masks when they sit down
Patrons must wear facial coverings while waiting for pickup, walking to and from a table, or walking to a restroom. Once seated, restaurants can “encourage,” but not require customers to keep masks on while not actively drinking or eating.
Large parties and communal tables are permitted but with restrictions
Groups of up to 10 people from different households can dine outside at a single table, which is a fairly large limit; that’s essentially the size of a small private party. Communal tables, by contrast, are forbidden unless restaurants can maintain six feet of distance in between various parties.
Health screenings will be mandatory for employees, not customers
The guidelines require daily employee health screenings, which must include, at a minimum, questions that seek to determine whether a worker has recently had COVID-19 symptoms, a positive diagnosis, or contact within the past two weeks with someone with the novel coronavirus or its symptoms. Those screenings can occur via telephone or electronically. Employers can also conduct temperature screenings but cannot keep records of that data.
Restaurants may “encourage” patrons to undergo screenings but cannot require them to do so. Establishments can also let customers leave their personal information for contact tracing purposes, though it’s not a requirement.
Bartenders and customers need to maintain social distance at outdoor bars
Outdoor bars are allowed to operate alongside restaurants during the reopening, but the same social distancing rules apply. Bars have to ensure that customers can maintain six feet of distance from one another (except if they are members of the same party). Additionally, there has to be enough space so that bar staff can stay six feet apart from both other staff members and the bar’s customers.
The guidelines specify that any food or beverage consumption “must occur at tables or bar tops in these outdoor spaces,” which likely means a typical summertime lounge setup, where patrons spend more time standing up and drinking with strangers than sitting down at a specific table might not be permitted. Then again, the guidelines do not explicitly state that the bar tops be equipped with chairs — a possible loophole that could provide for inter-party congregation.
Summary of most recent safety guidelines provided by EATERnewyork.