Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Arkansas Department of Health updates restaurant dine-in directive to include self-service, buffets


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is increasing the options for restaurants.

In the directive, which was modified Wednesday, self-service and buffets are now included.

In the updated directive, self-service operations are under Phase 2.

According to the directive from ADH, “Self-service operations, including, but not limited to, salad bars, buffets, and condiment bars may operate with the following requirements:

  • Capacity of the buffet area will be dependent on the ability of customers to maintain six (6) feet physical distance from each other at all times.
  • Facility should provide an employee to monitor physical distancing of six (6) feet in maintained.
  • Masks are required for all persons within the customer self-service area.
  • Hand sanitizer and single-use food service gloves shall be located at all entrances to the customer self-service area along with signage stating: ‘Use of hand sanitizer and food service gloves is required for all patrons in this area- Please use a new plate and a new glove for each trip to the buffet/salad bar’.
  • Serving utensils shall be replaced every sixty (60) minutes and/or every time a food item is replaced on the buffet.”

According to the directive, there are some requirements that have not changed from Phase 1, including staff must wear a face mask when in contact with patrons, gloves used during food preparation, patrons wearing a face covering while in the establishment when six feet distancing cannot be ensured, daily staff screening, signage for no entry if patrons are sick or have symptoms, frequent handwashing, groups no larger than 10 people, reporting to ADH if an employee tests positive, cleaning before serving a new customer, disinfect high-touch areas frequently and a few others.

ADH officials say the above restrictions will be in place until the Secretary of Health determines it is safe to proceed to Phase 3.

Phase 3 will include returning to normal operations with full seating capacity.

To see the updated directive, click here.


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