The purpose of this guidance is just that, to offer you direction and provide a framework for best practices as you reopen.
But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and not every restaurant is the same, and not every opening scenario will align. We recognize that not everyone has access to guidance, and that is where the National Restaurant Association can provide help.

  • Make sure your person-in-charge has an up-to-date ServSafe Food Manager certification. The Food and Drug Administration requires every facility to have a person in charge on-site during open hours and also directs that the person in charge should have a food manager certification.
  • Provide ServSafe food handler training for your workers. They’re your front line; educating them protects them, you and your guests.
  • Make technology your friend. Contactless payment systems, automated ordering systems, mobile ordering apps, website updates, and simple texts can help you to communicate and conduct business with a reduced need for close contact. As you begin to reopen, keep communicating with customers (your hours, menu items, reservations, etc.), and help promote your social distancing and safety efforts.
  • And some of the best advice comes from the Food and Drug Administration, which develops the Food Code we all rely on. Its newest guide, Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic, was just released. You can link to it here.

As we continue to learn more about operating businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to share with you the most current direction and advice from the experts at FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies. These documents will continue to reflect those best practices and will continue to be updated.

The National Restaurant Association partnered with representatives of the Food and Drug Administration, academia, the Conference for Food Protection, Ecolab, public health officials, and industry representatives to develop a set of opening and operating guidelines to help restaurants return to full operation safely when the time comes. This guidance is designed to provide you with a basic summary of recommended practices that can be used to help mitigate exposure to the COVID-19 virus, including:

  • Food safety
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Employee health monitoring and personal hygiene
  • Social distancing

Combine this guidance with your existing policies as well as this new resource from the FDA, Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Armed with information, ServSafe training, and the recommendations of your local health departments, you can help secure a safe opening.

Download and read the full report below.

For the most comprehensive and up-to-date COVID-19 resources and information for the restaurant industry, visit