Updated October 14, 2020

Governor Brown’s latest executive order outlines a plan to re-open the economy in phases. It encourages businesses to reopen carefully, and to continue healthy practices to stay safe.

Multnomah County is in Phase 1 of reopening.

Oregon’s gradual reopening does not mean the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Until further notice, restaurants and bars that reopen must: 

  • Continue physical distancing measures for employees and customers
  • Require everyone to wear face coverings
  • Ensure tables are spaced at least 6 feet apart so that at least 6 feet between parties is maintained, including when customers approach or leave tables. 
  • Limit parties to 10 people or fewer. 


Oregon Phase 1 Guidance for Restaurants and Bars (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions for Restaurants and Bars (PDF)

Reopening Checklist (PDF)

Face Coverings

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.

Face coverings are not required to be worn in restaurants while eating or drinking.

Tools & Resources

Physical Distancing, Occupancy and Seating Rules for Restaurants & Food Carts (85.01 KB)
Phase 1 Rules for Restaurants (74.21 KB)

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I sell?

Mobile food carts and food cart pods

  • Food carts can still sell food only for takeout or sit down dining at pods
  • Food cart pods can remain open as long as you can keep 6 feet of physical distancing

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, or in the dining area with 6 feet of physical distancing.

Food Preparation

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.

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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 contact-less 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.

The 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.

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.

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Employees & Symptoms

What are the known transmissions of COVID-19?

The virus is spread mainly from person to person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • What we know about how the virus spreads (CDC)»

It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose or possibly your eyes.

Read more about HVAC systems and the spread of COVID-19.

I’m showing symptoms. Should I stay home?

We recommend anyone who is feeling ill stay home.

My employee is telling me they have symptoms. Should I send them home?


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 were within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more, with or without a face covering, even if you don’t feel sick, you might need to take steps to separate yourself from others.

If you have been around someone with COVID-19>>. 

Monitor your symptoms for 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the person with COVID-19.

How do I know if I was exposed?

Food service employees who may have been exposed to a coworker that tested positive for COVID-19 will be notified by their employer:

  • After the employee who tested positive notifies the employer of their diagnosis; and
  • After the employer is contacted by the health department as part of a disease investigation; and
  • The employee may also be contacted directly by the health department if further disease investigation is required.

COVID-19 is widespread in our community. You may not know if you were exposed to a person with COVID-19 unless you are considered a close contact of an infected person who has tested positive for the virus. It is important to note that many people will be infected with COVID-19 and not show any symptoms or will only have mild illness. 

Close contact with an infected person poses the highest risk of disease spread. 

Close contact includes:

  • Living in the same household as a person who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for the virus.
  • Prolonged exposure to others in working in conditions where it is impossible to maintain 6-feet of distance between you or others. In work settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained, face coverings appropriate for your industry are recommended by the CDC. 
  • Caring for a person who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or is confirmed to have COVID-19. 
  • Touching or being exposed to bodily fluids of a person showing symptoms of COVID-19 or is confirmed to have COVID-19 through coughing, sneezing, kiss or coming into contact with viral droplets that can live on surfaces such as door knobs, shared utensils, work surfaces, etc. 

I was with my cousin last weekend and he has COVID-19. Should I stay home? 

Call your health care provider to decide if you need to be seen. If you were around someone with COVID-19 long enough, even if you don’t feel sick, you might need to take steps to separate yourself from others.

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 (foodsafety@multco.us, 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: 

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: 

Guidance for an employer with a 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 may call the area inspector or email foodsafety@multco.us for advice. 
  • The employer will be contacted by Communicable Disease Services, if there was an exposure at the workplace. 
  • Based on the care plan, date of exposure and severity of illness, the health department and health care provider will determine when the ill employee can safely return to work.

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Other Facilities

Are pools and spas required to close?

Pools and spas may now operate in Multnomah County under Oregon Health Authority's new COVID-19 guidelines for pools and spas»

For questions, see the Pools & Spas Reopening FAQs or ask your health inspector for guidance.

Are hotels and motels still open?


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Contact Us

For concerns or questions, contact your health inspector or email foodsafety@multco.us.

Report workplace safety or health hazard and unsafe conditions to Oregon OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), 800-922-2689. Available in English and Spanish.

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