State Guidelines for Dining Halls

Massachusetts Restaurant and Dining Hall Safety Checklist

If you see a health and safety problem, call your shop steward right away.

To see the full MA safety standards for hotels, go to:

Safety standards are available online in Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean, Vietnamese, Khmer, Gujarati, and Haitian Creole.


Social Distancing

  • Restructure set-up to encourage outdoor dining as much as possible and strictly limit indoor table service.
  • Space tables at least 6 feet apart from other tables and high-traffic areas like routes to restrooms, entrances, and exits. May be positioned closer if separated by protective barriers at least 6 feet high.
  • No groups of more than 6 people at one table.
  • Reconfigure work spaces to allow at least 6 feet of distance between workers, vendors, and customers. Stagger work stations on either side of a processing line so workers are not face-to-face.
  • Set up one-way hallways for foot traffic to minimize contact upon entrance and exit.
  • Use tape or paint on the floor to mark 6-foot distance in common areas.
  • Designate assigned working areas to workers wherever possible to limit movement throughout the restaurant/dining hall and limit contact between workers (i.e. assigned zones for servers.)
  • Stagger break times and start/end schedule times. Allow breaks to be taken outside.
  • Limit number of people in elevators or delivery vehicles.
  • Require face coverings for all workers and customers, except when an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability. Customers may remove face covering when seated at a table.
  • Improve ventilation wherever possible.


Hygiene Protocols

  • Provide frequent opportunities for employees to wash hands with soap and water, or provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Close buffets, drink stations, and other self-serve stations.
  • No reusable menus.
  • Condiments, salt & pepper, and similar items should only be provided on request in single-use portions or in containers that are sanitized between use.
  • Utensils and place settings must either be single-use or sanitized between use. No pre-set tables.
  • Thoroughly sanitize tables and chairs between each use.


Staffing and Operations

  • Screen workers at start of each shift for temperature and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Meetings and trainings should be virtual or in areas that allow for social distancing. Avoid large groups (over 10 people indoors is discouraged and over 25 is banned.)
  • Maintain log of workers and customers for contract tracing if needed.
  • Reservation seating is encouraged. No gathering in common areas or forming lines while waiting to be seated.
  • Use contactless payment and reduce person-to-person interaction whenever possible.
  • Management must name a Person in Charge on each shift to ensure safety compliance.


Cleaning & Disinfecting

  • Frequently clean and disinfect all common areas, restrooms, heavy transit areas, and high-touch surfaces. Keep cleaning logs with date, time, and scope of cleaning.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting in back of the house. Avoid all food contact surfaces when using disinfectants. Food contact surfaces must be sanitized before use with a sanitizer approved for food contact surfaces.
  • If a worker, customer, or vendor is found or presumed to have COVID-19, the restaurant or cafeteria must close for 24 hours to clean and disinfect before reopening.