Governor's Public Health Emergency Order
On March 12, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth of Virginia in response to the continued spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in which he asked Virginians to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also advises limiting gatherings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the community. To further mitigate the spread of this virus, effective March 24, 2020 at 11:59 PM food establishments were mandated to offer curbside takeout and delivery service only, or close to the public. View the Executive Order here. Please note that violations of Executive Order 53 may results in enforcement action, up to issuance of summons, or restaurant permit suspension.
In an effort to provide guidance to food establishments on how to operate in adherence to guidelines for protecting public health, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) provides the following key requirements and recommendations.
Food service must be limited to service of food intended for off-premise consumption ONLY. Eliminate seating of patrons on the premises (indoors or outdoors)
Home delivery of orders is allowed, as is curb-side pickup.
Patrons may enter food establishments to pick up their food, but to protect patrons and employees, social distancing must be maintained. Additionally, food establishment employees must limit the number of patrons in the establishment at one time to less than ten. As a best-practices recommendation, take-out orders should be brought outside to the patron by food-establishment employee(s).
Management should encourage customers waiting to pick up orders to maintain a minimum of 6 foot spacing.
In the case of convenience stores allowed to remain open under Executive Order 53, self-service of foods, including condiments and beverages, or single-service utensils are strongly discouraged.
Management should identify and implement operational changes that increase employee separation; however, social distancing to the full 6 feet may not be possible in some food facilities. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the risk of an employee transmitting COVID-19 to another is dependent on distance between employees, the duration of the exposu