Photo: Tables and chairs are ready for customers.
As more restaurants receive permits to serve outdoor meals, Belmont resident will have the chance to go out for a meal for the first time in three months. And there is a lot new for diners and eateries to know before servers approach their customers.
The most recognizable change is taking place in Belmont Center where the greatest concentration of eateries in town are located. The Select Board Monday, June 8 approved a plan to close Leonard Street between Moore Street and Alexander Avenue to increase outdoor seating areas for restaurants adversely impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown. Leonard Street will remain closed to all through traffic, with the exception of a 15-foot center lane to allow for the passage of emergency vehicles, delivery trucks,and MBTA buses, from June 11 until Sept. 8.
Restaurants in other locations will also be provided the opportunity to have outdoor seating on the sidewalks outside their establishments.
Below is a list of basic safety standards that restaurants must comply with in order to provide dining services at outdoor seating areas.
- Tables must be positioned to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas. Tables may be positioned closer together if they are separated by protective/nonporous barriers (i.e. structural walls or plexiglass dividers).
- The size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed six people.
- Customers are encouraged to call ahead to make dining reservations before arriving to a restaurant.
- All customers and workers are required to wear face coverings at all times, except when eating or if an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability.
- All workers must wash hands frequently, and table servers must wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer between each table interaction.
- Condiments and similar products (i.e. salt, pepper, ketchup, etc.) should not be pre-set on tables and should instead be provided upon request either in single-serving portions(i.e. individual packets) or in serving containers that are sanitized between each use.
- Menus must be one of the following: 1) paper, single-use menus disposed of after each use, 2) displayed menu (i.e. digital, whiteboard, chalkboard, etc.), or 3) electronic menus viewed on customers’ phones/mobile devices.
- Utensils and place settings must be either single-use or sanitized after each use; utensils should be rolled or packaged. Tables should not be pre-set to reduce opportunity for exposure.
- Tables and chairs must be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly between each seating.