COVID-19: Resources for Retail Food Establishments


The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in DOH ED 20-019 and EO 157. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with the terms of DOH ED 20-019 and EO 157 and businesses should read the full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Establishments must institute the following policies:

  • Limit seating to a maximum of 8 customers per table - unless from an immediate family or the same household – and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of 6 feet between parties;
  • Encourage reservations for greater control of customer traffic;
  • Cordon off any indoor or outdoor dance floors to the public;
  • Require customers to provide a phone number if making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing;
  • Consider alternatives to paper/physical menus (whiteboards, electronic menus);
  • Provide a hand sanitizer station for customers; and
  • Require customers who wish to enter the indoor portion of the establishment to wear a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age;
  • Require that groups stay 6 feet apart, even in areas where groups are not assigned seating;
  • Prohibit smoking in any outdoor areas designated for consumption of food and/or beverages;
  • Adhere to all other health and safety protocols in DOH Executive Directive No. 20-019.

Guidance for Employees
Food or beverage establishments offering service must impose the following requirements on employees:

  • Require employees to wash and/or sanitize their hands when entering the food or beverage establishment;
  • Conduct daily health checks (e.g. temperature screening and/or symptom checking) of employees safely and respectfully, and in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations;
  • Require employees with symptoms of COVID-19 be sent home;
  • Require all employees to wear face coverings, except where doing so would inhibit the individual's health, or if it would create an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task (i.e. cooks that work near open flames);
  • Provide all employees with face coverings and gloves free of charge;
  • Provide employees break time for repeated handwashing throughout the workday;
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to staff; and
  • Encourage employees to obtain COVID-19 testing.

Full dining guidance for food and beverage establishments can be found in DOH Executive Directive No. 20-019.

Additionally, a special ruling by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) temporarily permits establishments with liquor licenses to expand their licensed premises into outdoor areas. To learn more, refer to the NJ ABC's special ruling.

For additional information on COVID-19's impact on businesses and mitigation requirements for businesses, please visit the State of New Jersey's COVID-19 Business Information Hub.

Sources: Executive Order No. 150Executive Order No. 157ABC Special Ruling 2020-10DOH Executive Directive No. 20-019Executive Order No. 158

Social Distancing Calculator

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This calculator is provided to assist you in planning social distancing for your employees and customers. However, the results given by this calculator do not relieve you of your obligation to follow all applicable Public Health Orders as they apply to your space. The configuration of any given space (aisles, racks, etc.) may result in a lower actual capacity limit. It is up to each business to ensure compliance with all portions of current orders.

In order to maintain at least 6 feet of separation from each other when taking into account the unpredictable dynamics of each person's movement, this calculator uses a 12-foot grid distribution. 


NJ Department of Health

-Quick guidance document for bars and restaurants

Centers for Disease Control

- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19

- Information for Grocery and Retail Workers  

- Information for Food & Grocery Delivery & Pick-up Drivers 

Food and Drug Administration

- Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services

Best Practices for Re-opening Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Pandemic