Updated December 15, 2020
The State of Oregon has new guidelines for restaurants, as part of the Governor’s health and safety framework. Multnomah County is in the “Extreme Risk” category, so the guidelines for restaurants are:
- Takeout highly recommended
- Outdoor dining allowed, max 50 capacity, 75% of sides open for airflow
- 11 pm close
- Max 6 per table, limit 2 households
Restaurants should continue to reduce crowding as much as possible and ensure outdoor dining areas are well ventilated.
Additional workplace guidelines:
- OHA Guidance for Employers and Organizations
- Additional State health and safety framework guidance
- Summary of OSHA Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks
Tools & Resources
Multnomah County is now accepting applications through December 18 for CARES Act relief funds for licensed restaurants and food carts.
- Business Economic Resources
- Multnomah County Business Tools and Guidance
- Chef's Connection food safety blog
Face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces in Oregon for everyone age 5 and older. They are also required outdoors when you cannot keep 6 feet from others.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What foods can I sell?
- Food preparation
- Takeout and delivery
- Employees and symptoms
- Other facilities
What can I sell?
Mobile food carts and food cart pods
- Food carts can still sell food.
- Food cart pods can remain open as long as you can keep 6 feet of physical distancing and no sit-down dining is offered.
Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts
- Serving food as a continental breakfast or buffet is not allowed at this time.
- You can only provide food as room service or for takeout.
- Customers may consume food in their room.
Should I wear a face covering when preparing food?
Yes, Oregon Health Authority's Mask and Face Covering Guidance (PDF) says that businesses, including restaurants, must require employees to wear a face covering. Face coverings are NOT a replacement for physical distancing, food safety and proper preventive hygiene practices.
Should food services be following strict, no bare-hand contact of prepared ready-to-eat foods?
Yes, food services should limit as much bare-hand contact as possible with ready-to-eat foods.
Takeout & Delivery
Only people who are in good health should prepare and deliver food. All food service and delivery staff must wash their hands often with warm water and soap.
Upon delivery, employees should set food packages on the customer’s doorstep and step back 6 feet after knocking. We also recommend:
- Restaurants and diners consider using a contactless business model that requires limited or no interaction between the restaurant, delivery service, and the customer.
- Once a customer has their food, they should remember to wash their hands before eating.
- Anyone concerned about the packaging might consider transferring their food to a plate or bowl, disposing of the delivery container and then washing their hands.
Are there any additional requirements I need to follow to prepare for delivery?
No. Just follow general food safety practices when preparing food. Keep cars clean, limit interactions with customers and remind them to wash their hands before eating. The goal should be “contact-less delivery” to protect employees and customers.
What are acceptable takeout and grab-and-go methods?
- You can take customer orders by phone or in-person. Follow physical distancing guidelines by keeping 6 feet apart for in-person orders.
- Customers may stand in line as long as staff can monitor the line to maintain 6-foot physical distancing. It’s also recommended you place signs.
- All beverages must be filled by employees. No self-service beverages or customer refills.
- Give single-use items like napkins and condiments directly to the customer instead of putting them in a self-service area.
Can a customer pay with cash?
Should the facility only have individually wrapped straws available for customers?
Limiting all interactions from customers with all single-service items should be encouraged. This could be through wrapped products or by having employees dispense them instead of putting single-service items and utensils out for customers.
Can Styrofoam containers be used for takeout during the emergency?
Continue to follow local ordinances. Portland’s polystyrene foam container ban is still in effect.
Employees & Symptoms
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus spreads through small droplets when someone who has COVID-19 sneezes, coughs, sings, or talks.
- Droplets containing the virus can land in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Small particles from the droplets can stay in the air, especially indoors, and you can inhale them into your lungs.
- Droplets can land on surfaces like phones, doorknobs, floors, or countertops. If you touch these and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands, you can get sick.
Read more about HVAC Systems and the Spread of COVID-19.
I’m showing symptoms. Should I stay home?
Stay home and don’t have any visitors.
Call your doctor or clinic to see if you need to be tested or need an appointment. Make a plan with your doctor or clinic. Stay home until your doctor or clinic says you can be around others again.
If you don’t have a doctor or clinic, call 2-1-1 or Multnomah County Primary Care Clinics at 503-988-5558. You can get health care even if you don’t have insurance or are not a U.S. citizen.
My employee is telling me they have symptoms. Should I send them home?
Yes. And encourage them to stay home, away from others, and to call their doctor or clinic. See above.
What should I do if I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 while they were ill but I am NOT sick?
If you had close contact, whether you are sick or not, you need to:
Stay home for 14 days after you last had close contact. Close contact means spending at least 15 minutes or more over the course of a day within 6 feet of someone, with or without a face covering.In some cases you may be able to reduce your quarantine period to 10 days. How long should you quarantine?
Get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
If you develop symptoms, call your doctor or clinic right away. Stay in your own space at home so you don’t get other people sick.
How do I know if I was exposed?
You may hear from your employer. Food service employees who may have been exposed to a coworker that tested positive for COVID-19 will be notified by their employer within 24 hours:
After the employee who tested positive notifies the employer of their diagnosis; or
After the employer is contacted by the health department as part of a disease investigation.
The employee may also be contacted directly by the health department if further disease investigation is required.
You may hear from a friend or family member who tested positive for COVID-19. If you had close contact with this person, you will need to stay home, get tested, and call your doctor or clinic right away if you develop symptoms. Close contact means spending at least 15 minutes or more over the course of a day within 6 feet of someone, with or without a face covering. If you have been around someone with COVID-19>>.
I was with my cousin last weekend and he has COVID-19. Should I stay home?
If you had close contact with your cousin, yes, you will need to stay home, get tested, and call your doctor or clinic right away if you develop symptoms. Close contact means spending at least 15 minutes or more over the course of a day within 6 feet of someone, with or without a face covering. If you have been around someone with COVID-19>>.
If an employee at a restaurant is diagnosed with COVID-19, does the restaurant have to completely shut down (and all employees with close contact self-isolate for 2 weeks)?
No. Please contact your inspector or our office for further advice (firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-988-3400).
If a food service employee has a member of their household with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, do they have to report this to the manager or supervisor?
Yes. Food service employees who live with a family or other household member who has tested positive for COVID-19 are legally mandated by Oregon law (OAR 333-019-1000 and OAR 333-150) to report this information to their manager or supervisor. In addition, they must:
- Assess their own risk of exposure and take action -- this may include staying home from work to avoid exposing others.
- Contact their local public health department.
If a food service employee has tested positive for COVID-19 do employers have to report this information?
Yes. If a food service employee tests positive for COVID-19 employers are legally mandated by Oregon law (OAR 333-019-1000 and OAR 333-150) to:
- Work with public health to determine which employees had close, prolonged contact with the employee.
- Follow all applicable laws and regulations to maintain confidentiality and protect personal health information of the employee who is ill.
- Assess their own risk of exposure and take appropriate action.
- Call the local public health department -- environmental health and/or communicable disease -- to notify of this positive case.
If a food service employee goes to a doctor, will a communicable disease nurse contact the manager or supervisor? What can the restaurant expect next?
It depends. If an employee seeks health care for possible symptoms of COVID-19, employers will NOT be notified. This is considered protected health information.
However, if a health care provider determines that testing for COVID-19 is necessary and the food service employee tests positive:
- The food service employee is legally required to report their positive diagnosis to their employer.
- The employer is required to notify all exposed or affected employees within 24 hours of learning of the positive test.
- The employer may call the area inspector or email email@example.com for advice.
- The employer may be contacted by Communicable Disease Services, if there was an exposure at the workplace.
- Employees should not be required to have a negative test before returning for work. Employees can return to work based on a timetable of symptoms ending and time passed since a positive test.
Are pools and spas required to close?
Yes. Under the Extreme Risk category, pools and spas must be closed.
Are hotels and motels still open?
For concerns or questions, contact your health inspector or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report workplace safety or health hazard and unsafe conditions via Oregon OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) website, or call 503-229-5910. Available in English and Spanish.