Coronavirus: Nonprofit Releases Guidance On Reopening Restaurants

Austin, TX Patch

AUSTIN, TX — As restaurant operators grapple with how to reopen their businesses while adhering to safeguards to prevent spread of the coronavirus, an industry nonprofit has released guidelines on how to proceed.

Good Work Austin, a nonprofit formed in Austin in 2018 with a self-described mission of creating a supportive environment for employers who want to do the right thing for their workers, the economy and the environment, has released its restaurant reopening guidelines.

Over the last several weeks, the organization has worked collaboratively with more than 30 of its members via meetings, surveys and discussions to introduce comprehensive reopening protocols that are clear and actionable. In an effort to be more vigilant than those suggested by the state, these measures have been assembled to provide the most peace of mind and protection possible for local staff, guests and the community, officials said in an emailed advisory.

“We want to remind the community that there are still some folks out there who are being conservative about the reopening process and taking safety seriously,” Brian Stubbs, owner of Genuine Article Bookkeeping and Consulting, said in a prepared statement.

Throughout the duration of the pandemic, Good Work Austin also has advocated to get funds and opportunities for employment into the hands of business owners from as many sources as possible — with much of the focus being placed on helping restaurants, officials said.

All restaurants wishing to partner with Good Work Austin now are asked to fully adopt these 15 protocols, officials said. Through the repetitive implementation of all of these protocols across many restaurants, Good Work Austin will help guests observe them and understand their role in keeping Austin businesses open and the community healthy.

The guidelines state that Good Work Austin businesses agree to the following to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help all businesses reopen and stay open in Austin:

Reservation sites and websites will include notices that diners cannot enter the restaurant if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. Guests not following clearly stated guidelines will be denied service. Employees will be counseled on appropriate behavior at and away from work by a medical professional to make sure that they are not putting our community at risk.Staff temperatures must be taken daily. Anyone with a 99.6º or higher temperature will be sent home. Staff who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home and must fulfill one of the following options: 1) receive a note from a doctor allowing them to return to work; 2) receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test; 3) complete a 14-day self-quarantine. If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, businesses will be thoroughly sanitized and staff members who worked with the infected employee anytime in the last 14 days to be tested or quarantined for two weeks. An Employee Wellness Charge will be included to provide employees with access to health care and paid sick leave. All dine-in customers will provide their names, and they along with employees will complete a Health Declaration. All staff must wear masks while in the restaurant. Customers must wear masks except when they have food or beverage in front of them. Hand washing will be enforced every 30 minutes for all staff. Staff will have no intentional physical contact and will constantly be aware of the necessity of social distancing. Certain employees will be dedicated solely to servicing customers and/or dividing spaces and redefine roles to further separate employees and customers. Menus will be on display, online or be sanitized after each use. Single-use menus will be available by request. Hand sanitation stations will be placed at the entrance and exit of the restaurant and outside the restrooms. Restaurant operators are committed to ensuring proper ventilation of indoor spaces by cleaning & changing filters more frequently and/or increasing fresh airflow. Adopt all elements of Open Texas Minimum Standard Health Protocols for facility, customers and employees.

“Texas has moved into phase three of reopening with no real notice or transition period,” Adam Orman, co-founder of L’Oca d’Oro, said in a prepared statement. “Suddenly, guidelines like six feet are not necessary. GWA is proud to stand up and take responsibility for the safety of our community and align with our neighboring businesses.”

Good Work Austin originally launched in 2018 as a group of local business owners working with the City Council to write Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, and they continue to work together on creating a supportive environment for employers who want to do the right thing for their workers, the economy and the environment. The organization composed of nearly 100 small businesses, helps Austinites find creative solutions to health care and mental health benefits, offers sexual harassment, racial discrimination and open books management trainings and connects owners to city and state government and other civic institutions to strengthen the bonds between community and business.

The group expects to release additional announcements on how they plan to confront the problems still faced by the industry at large. For more information or to sign up to be a member, visit:

About Good Work Austin

Good Work Austin (GWA) is a community of small businesses dedicated to providing small business advocacy, support and resources to operators who want to provide benefits for their employees. GWA advocates at the city and state level for small business and employee-friendly legislation. For more information, please visit and @goodworkAustin on social media.

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