State fire marshal outlines modified outdoor dining rules

Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning released updated restaurant/food service outdoor seating, and employee criteria April 28. The criteria was offered in preparation for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ revised stay at home proclamation beginning May 1.

“In accordance with Governor John Bel Edwards’ COVID-19 Proclamation to be released May 1, 2020, all restaurants that provide outdoor patio venues must adhere to strict mitigation standards preventing the spread of COVID-19,” the memorandum read. “The general operating matrix will require spacing of groups, limiting concentration of people, strict use of PPE, and frequent sanitizing.”

The specific requirements are provided below: 

Life Safety and Egress: Existing approved outdoor seating areas, to include balcony and rooftop, must maintain operating features per approved occupancy (NFPA 101 Life Safety Code). The following modifications are required: 

  • Reduce outdoor capacity to 25% of that allowed by the State Fire Marshal; 
  • Space tables a minimum of 10 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table); 
  • Limit table groups to 10 individuals; and 
  • Eliminate gatherings in the building when entering or exiting outdoor seating area. 

Open Areas and Temporary Tents utilized by existing, approved restaurants, subject to local or parish rules and ordinances, must meet NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and 2/3 of the sides must be open. The tent must not be an enclosed tent. The following conditions are required: 

  • Two remotely located exits if barriers (fences, barricades, etc.) exist; 
  • Capacity based on 60 square feet 1per person of the gross area (25% space to be occupied); 
  • Space tables a minimum of 10 feet from each other (measured from all edges of the table); 
  • Limit table groups to 10 individuals; 
  • State approved fire extinguisher within 75 feet of tent area; and 
  • Minimum 7-foot 6-inch head room (ceiling height). 

Louisiana Department of Health Guidance: Employee Personal Protective Equipment 

  • Restaurant employees are required to wear cloth face coverings while working
  • Employees should wear gloves for preparing and serving food, and should change gloves between customers. 

Cleaning of Outdoor Dining Areas Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use disinfectant. 

  • High touch surfaces to disinfect include: doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. 
  • Tables, chairs, and seats should be cleaned after every customer. 
  • Recommended Cleaning Products 
  • Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use disinfectant. 
  • Recommend use of EPA-registered household disinfectant. Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

Read the entire memorandum here.