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California releases new guidelines to reopen dine-in restaurant services

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state's guidelines for restaurants are flexible to come up with their own reopening plan because all businesses are not the same.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One of the first differences you might notice once you're able to dine out again at your favorite restaurant is that you'll likely be ordering from a disposable menu.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday released guidelines on how restaurants could resume dine-in services during the coronavirus pandemic. Cal/OSHA's guidance comes almost two months after state officials declared that people should stay at home because of the pandemic.

California is currently in its Phase 2 of its reopening process, which allowed some businesses to reopen. Newsom said in a press conference that the current phase would allow the reopening of bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods.

Newsom said that the guidelines provide flexibility for restaurant owners on how they could reopen, because not all businesses are the same.

(Below is a checklist released by California Division of Occupational Safety and Health for employers reopening their restaurants.)

Companies reopening their doors to the public would be meaningless if co-workers and customers do not feel safe to return to restaurants, which is why the guidelines are health-focused, Newsom said. 

"How do we bring back a healthy workforce?" Newsom said. "How, if that workforce if they are exposed or tested positive for COVID-19, how do we protect that workforce so they don't feel they have to go to work and are having symptoms and are not being honest to their employer?"

The new guidelines offer businesses a framework of how they could screen their employees for those who could have the coronavirus, how to keep the companies disinfected and to promote social distancing within the restaurant.

(Click here for the guidelines released Tuesday by the state's public health office.)

The state advises companies to screen their employees for their temperature or to see if they have the symptoms for the coronavirus. Businesses are also encouraged to allow their employees to self-screen at their homes before they leave for work while also practicing CDC guidelines.

One strategy the state came up with to fight the spread of the coronavirus is by advising businesses to offer disposable menus to their patrons. The guidelines also suggest having a digital menu if restaurants can't provide a menu that could be thrown away.

Restaurants could also ask customers to wait in their cars while they wait to be seated. Restaurants are also encouraged to ask for patrons to order online so they are not inside for too long.

The guidelines also allow for brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries and wineries to open up if they also sell dine-in meals. Patrons then could purchase alcohol with their meals, according to the guidelines.   

California Department of Public Health officials said in a press release that everyone should still be practicing social distancing and wearing a face mask when they're out in public. Officials advise that people should stay close to home as much as possible. 

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WATCH MORE: Sacramento restaurants explore options to reopen dine-in service during coronavirus pandemic