Florida restaurants, bars now required to follow CDC guidelines for employee screening

Posted at 12:13 AM, Aug 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 05:45:05-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Governor Ron DeSantis updated an executive order on Wednesday, and is now requiring restaurants and bars to follow all CDC guidelines when it comes to screening employees.

Before now, this was just a recommendation, but local restaurants say they’ve already been following the guidelines anyway, so following the Governor’s requirements is no big deal.

“We want to be open cause we’ve all got families to feed. So, we’re going to do what we need to do by the state’s standards, and we’re going to do what we need to do to stay safe,” said Matthew Juaire, Owner of Bay Cannon Beer Company in West Tampa.

For Bay Cannon Beer Company, cleanliness has always been top of mind.

“We’re a brewery, sanitation is extremely important to the product we serve,” said Juaire.

The pandemic certainly added a few extra requirements for customers and employees, but overall, the requirements set by the Governor in his executive order are already being followed.

“They’re wearing masks on a regular basis, hands are consistently being washed, we’re currently serving out of plastic cups,” said Juaire.

Those CDC requirements as listed on the CDC's website include:

  • Urge employees to stay home if they feel unwell, tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • Require employees to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before, during, and after preparing food and after touching garbage.
  • Develop a schedule for increased routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, bathrooms, cash registers, tables, countertops, receipt trays, and condiment holders.
  • Encourage the use of cloth face coverings among all staff, as feasible. This is most essential when staying at least 6 feet apart is difficult.
  • Make sure there are enough supplies to support healthy hygiene, such as soap, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, and no-touch trash cans in key areas of the restaurant including near the cash registers and in the restrooms.
  • Prioritize outdoor seating and open windows and doors to increase circulation of outdoor air if possible.
  • Change layouts, such as spacing out tables and chairs, to make sure customer parties remain at least 6 feet apart.

In Hyde Park, Forbici’s co-owner says the guidelines are consistent with current operations.

“We are temperature checking all of our employees when they come to work. We are encouraging them to adhere to social distancing when they’re not in the restaurant. We’re wearing masks, we’re cleaning hands and surfaces frequently,” said Joseph Guggino, Co-owner of Forbici.

Forbici also provided two rounds of testing for all of their employees as an extra precaution. They say they’ll do everything and more to stay safe and stay open, and they appreciate the update in requirements.

“I think it’s very fluid. It’s an ongoing process. I think that they’re very good, but I think we need to keep considering what’s happening and stay current and look to what we can do every day to be safer,” said Guggino.

Bar owners are still itching to get the go-ahead to reopen. The state’s top business regulator is currently meeting with bar owners to discuss ways they can safely do so. So far no timeline has been set.

For more information on the CDC’s guidelines for restaurants and bars, click here.