Organising Your Restaurant After Reopening? This Safety Checklist Will Help

Jun 28, 2020

As restaurants, cafes and hospitality spaces across the country have – or are in the middle of – reopening following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s important for small business owners to know the rules and regulations that will optimise the safety of their patrons and staff members.

Restaurant and Catering Association CEO Wes Lambert says their organisations reopening guidelines have been presented to state premiers and National Cabinet and have been adopted by multiple states as a foundation for the reopening of eateries.

“These guidelines address all the unique issues that a restaurant would face: including social distancing, reducing touch points, training and ensuring the consumers in your business are COVIDSafe,” Lambert says.

“Whether the [guidelines] are prescriptive or non-prescriptive depends on the premier of each state.

According to the Restaurant and Catering Association, the checklist – summarised below – “gives businesses the best opportunity to show the dining public that their venue is safe and welcoming for dine-in customers.”

Bookings and Conditions of Entry:

⊡ Pre-bookings or sign-ins accompanied by the name, address/email and phone number of the patron dining in.

⊡ If no pre-booking is made, the patron signs in using the reservation book, or scan using the relevant booking app or program used by the business at hand.

⊡ Patrons are encouraged to download the federal government’s COVIDSAFE tracking app.

Refusing Service:

⊡ Business owners have the right to refuse service, and can insist that anyone with symptoms of illness, including fever or coughing, leave the premises.

⊡ Prominent signs at entry points notify patrons to not enter if they are feeling unwell.

Waiting Areas:

⊡ Waiting area seating are removed, and social distancing requirements are clearly marked.

Queuing and Separating Patrons:

⊡ Minimum social distancing marks are placed between queuing customers, and barriers are used to distance patrons where possible.

⊡ Separate doors are used for patrons to enter and exit the building, and different areas are set up for ordering and collecting, where possible.

⊡ Customers waiting outside for takeaway orders are social distancing.

Delivery Drivers:

⊡ Drivers are regularly cleaning and disinfecting all parts of their vehicle, as well as the phone or devise used to assist in the delivery of food and parcels.

⊡ A lint-free cloth and 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol, or disinfectant wipes, are used for disinfecting.

Table and Seat Distancing:

⊡ Social distancing of at least 1.5sq m between patrons seated at different tables, and a maximum of 1 patron per four square metres across the dining area – however, this may depend on the rules in the state or territory at hand.

⊡ Tables, chairs, stools and booth seating are sanitised after every use.

Cutlery and Condiments:

⊡ Non-disposable cutlery, glassware and crockery – and its washed disposable equivalent – are cleared after each course, and washed using a commercial grade dishwasher or glass-washer. If this can’t be achieved, use disposable cutlery, crockery and glassware are being used.

⊡ Condiments, including salt and pepper shakers, aren’t left on the table, and aren’t stored or shared from a common container.

⊡ Communal water stations are not being used, and keep-cups, BYO alcohol bottles or containers are refused

Menus and Service:

⊡ Menus are laminated or disposed of after each use.

⊡ No buffet/serve yourself/open food displays.

⊡ No bar service or waiting at the bar

⊡ Sharable items are avoided where possible.

⊡ Outdoor service follows the same requirements as indoor service

Automatic Hand Sanitisers:

⊡ Freely available throughout the business.


⊡ Only electronic payments are being used.

⊡ Plexiglass barriers have been installed at tills and counters to protect staff.

⊡ Patrons are encouraged to use online ordering and prepayments.

Staff Practices:

⊡ Physical interactions between staff and others– including fellow workers, clients and delivery drivers – are limited where possible.

⊡ Tasks and processes that involve close interactions have been reviewed.

⊡ Cleaning schedules have been increased, and surfaces are disinfected regularly and with the appropriate solutions

⊡ Gloves and alcohol based sanitiser are made available for workers, particularly at exit and entry points.

⊡ Closed bins are provided for workers to dispose of waste and rubbish after use.

Mental Health:

⊡ Zero tolerance approach to abuse and violence in the workplace

In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak:

⊡ Seek government advice by calling the relevant state or territory helpline.

⊡ The current details of the person affected are recorded, as well as relevant details including where they had been in the workplace and who they interacted with.

⊡ If instructed, tell close contacts they may have been exposed to COVID-19, and inform them of their quarantine requirements.

⊡ The privacy of all involved has been maintained.

⊡ The affected areas are closed, and outside windows and doors are open if safe, until the area has been cleaned and disinfected.

⊡ All areas have been thoroughly cleaned, with the cleaners wearing the appropriate PPE. If there’s visible contamination with respiratory secretions or other fluids in the area, the cleaners should wear a disposable apron.


⊡ Ensure staff are retrained with the relevant accreditation course, and the certificate is displayed at the business entrance.

Further resources from the Restaurant and Catering Association can be found here:

An initiative of Fine Food, Hospitality Unites is the voice of the foodservice industry, dedicated to sharing the collective experiences and solutions to thrive in a post-COVID economy.

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