Navigating COVID-19: Best practices for reducing social mixing

Published May 4, 2021

While recognizing that dining safety plans for each business will always need to be unique to the operational realities of each establishment, Restaurants Canada recommends that restaurants consider incorporating as many of the following best practices into their operations as possible to help reduce social mixing among guests from different households or bubbles/circles/cohorts, in jurisdictions where they continue to be prohibited from interacting while dining.

Restaurants Canada recommends that any messaging around social mixing and seating restrictions remain positive and include wording such as: “Help us help you stay safe.” or “Help us keep (patio) dining open by adhering to COVID-19 (outdoor) dining restrictions.”

Reminders not to interact with guests from other tables and to wear masks other than while seated can also be included along with the following forms of communication.

  • Signage — A sign may be displayed at the entrance of an establishment and/or dining area(s) reminding guests of seating restrictions, reinforcing that only guests from the same household or permissible bubble/circle/cohort size may be seated together.
  • Menu Inserts — Inserts may be added to menus including a seating restriction reminder or a questionnaire that asks guests to answer a few questions about whether they belong to the same household or permissible bubble/circle/cohort.
  • Contact Information Collection Questions — When requesting contact information from guests during the reservation process or when guests walk in, questions may be included asking if guests are from the same household or permissible bubble/circle/cohort.
  • Online Reminders — Websites and other online marketing platforms can include seating restriction reminders.
  • Smaller Groups of Seated Guests — Establishments may choose to voluntarily reduce the maximum number of guests they seat together by encouraging dining parties to split up and sit in smaller groups at separate tables.

Check out our dedicated COVID-19 resource page for regularly updated information and tools for navigating COVID-19 in your jurisdiction.

Marlee Wasser

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