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California Recommends Masks for Servers, Disposable Menus



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SACRAMENTO — California is recommending restaurants screen guests for symptoms, have servers wear masks and keep diners at least six feet apart once they reopen under guidance released Tuesday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration didn’t set a strict limit on the number of diners allowed but gave suggestions on how to limit crowding such as using outdoor seating and encouraging take-out where possible.

The guidance will take effect only once counties are cleared by the state to move forward, with more rural areas with few virus cases expected to reopen dine-in restaurants more quickly than places like Los Angeles.

Restaurants have been walloped by the stay-at-home order in California, which has allowed take-out orders but not in-person dining due to concerns about the virus’s spread. Restaurant owners have been forced to layoff staff as these orders are often a fraction of their business and they have been rallying to reopen their doors.

Masks Recommended for All Restaurant Workers

Other recommendations include providing disposable menus or disinfecting them before and after use and putting an end to pre-set tables. The state also suggests suspending the use of salt and pepper shakers, wherever possible, or supplying as needed and disinfecting them.

Masks would be recommended for all restaurant workers and required for any who come within six feet of customers.

The California Restaurant Association had previously drafted a list of recommendations that included limiting tables to no more than 10 people. Salad bars, buffets and shared bread baskets would be out.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.