When restaurants and cafes reopen this month, they should favour the use of terraces and the ‘take away’ service and should encourage prior scheduling, according to guidance from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) released today.

In the guidance, the DGS establishes the various measures that food and beverage establishments must adopt when they reopen on May 18.

Among the measures to be adopted, the health authority highlights the reduction of the maximum capacity of the establishment, in order to ensure the recommended physical distance of two meters between people, privileging the use of outdoor areas, such as terraces (whenever possible) and the take-away service.

According to DGS, “the arrangement of tables and chairs must guarantee a distance of at least two meters between people, but cohabitants can sit facing each other or side by side, at a lower distance”.

Companies must prevent customers from changing the orientation of tables and chairs, allowing employees to do so, but always ensuring the necessary distance.

DGS also recommends that, whenever possible and applicable, prior booking for seats be promoted and encouraged.

On the other hand, standing spaces are not recommended, as are ‘self-service’ operations such as ‘buffets’.

The cleaning and disinfection of spaces must respect the guidelines previously issued by DGS, and owners must disinfect, at least six times a day, all areas of frequent contact (door handles, washbasin taps, tables, benches, chairs, handrails).

The same must be done with “critical equipment (such as automatic payment terminals and individual menus”) after each use.

The guidance also establishes the need for hand hygiene with alcohol-based solution or soap and water at the entrance and exit of the establishment by customers, who must respect the distance between people of at least two meters and comply with the respiratory label measures.

Customers should also consider wearing a mask, except during the meal period, avoid touching unnecessary surfaces and objects and give preference to electronic payment.

The document also establishes the procedures to be adopted by the employees of the catering and beverage establishments, namely the use of a mask during the period of work with multiple people.

DGS recalls that “the catering and beverage establishments, due to their characteristics, can be places of transmission of infection by SARS-CoV-2, either by direct and / or indirect contact”.

For this reason, he argues, additional measures “must be taken to ensure that the transmission of the disease is minimized in these contexts”.