One Week to NYC Indoor Dining 
September 23, 2020
Though it seemed like this day would never come, NYC restaurants are finally permitted to reopen for indoor dining on September 30, 2020. New York State has published “Interim Guidance for New York City Indoor Food Services” in anticipation of the return of indoor dining, which can be found here.

While most of the prior guidance remains in place, there are a number of new rules and requirements set out in the updated Interim Guidance. Some key updates are as follows:

  • Capacity is limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy, exclusive of employees.
  • Signage stating the maximum number of patrons permitted in the restaurant must be visibly posted in the restaurant, and must also be visible from the exterior.
  • Events must be limited to the lesser of 25% capacity of the maximum occupancy or the current social gathering restriction (at present, 50 people).
  • Patrons may only dine indoors if one person from each party signs in and provides their full name, address and phone number for contact tracing.
  • Restaurants must follow enhanced air filtration and ventilation standards and protocols.
  • Employees and patrons may only enter the restaurant if they have their temperatures taken before or immediately upon entering and have a temperature of no greater than 100.0 degrees.
  • Service must end at midnight, though patrons who are still eating can stay for up to 30 additional minutes.
  • No seating or service at the bar is permitted-- all beverages must be served at the table. 

Before reopening for indoor dining, restaurants must create a safety plan and post it conspicuously on site, review the Interim Guidance, and complete the online affirmation that they have done so. The safety plan template can be found here and the affirmation can be found here.

We take this opportunity to remind you that EGS can assist you in preparing to reopen your business by providing you with materials to help you ensure compliance with the many local, state and federal guidelines implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19. EGS has prepared a “reopening packet” tailored to NYC restaurants comprised of the following:

  • Comprehensive Reopening Memorandum addressing your obligations and providing guidelines to follow, including health and safety protocols, compensation and time off considerations, and recommended best practices;
  • Employee COVID-19 Health & Safety Policy to provide to your employees;
  • Employee Health Screening Questionnaire for use by your management team in conducting pre-workday employee COVID-19 health screenings, complete with a form for recording whether an employee was permitted to work or sent home based on the results of their health screening;
  • Customer Contact Tracing and Temperature Check Recordkeeping Form;
  • Restaurant Reopening Task List detailing steps your restaurant must take prior to reopening and then daily thereafter;
  • Comprehensive Rehire Memorandum addressing all documents legally necessary to onboard previously laid-off employees, with an accompanying “new hire/rehire packet” containing all relevant documents;
  • For employers with fewer than 500 employees, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA policies and FFCRA Time Off Request Form; and
  • New York COVID-19 Quarantine Leave Policy.

The flat-fee for this package is $1,750 for existing clients and $2,000 for new clients. The price includes 30 minutes of advice/counsel pertaining to these materials, as well as email updates as pertinent changes are announced.

Since the guidance changes often and the reopening materials require regular updating, at your election we will provide you with updated documents on a “subscription” basis. The cost of this update subscription service is $500 per month. 

If you would like to purchase a Reopening Packet and/or subscribe to receive updated documents, please reach out to Allison Vieyra at or the primary EGS attorney with whom you work.

Best of luck in reopening!

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This memorandum is published solely for the informational interest of friends and clients of Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP and should in no way be relied upon or construed as legal advice.