The Austin Chronicle

Local Org Offers Beefed-Up COVID-19 Guidelines for Hospitality Businesses

Initiatives aimed at preventing the virus' spread and sustaining local businesses

By Jessi Cape, July 3, 2020, Food

One local org, Good Work Austin, has been busy creating a network of more than 40 local food and beverage businesses – including Black Star Co-Op, Confituras, L'Oca d'Oro, 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op, Small Victory, Uncle Nicky's, Lenoir, and Shu Shu's Asian Cuisine – aimed at problem-solving ways to sustain hospitality businesses during these difficult times while also developing protocols for community safety. Initiatives include a food bank serving restaurant employees, providing access to subsidized mental health counseling and primary care, and promoting their "Re-Opening Agreement" to establishments across Central Texas.

As stated on their website: "More vigilant than those suggested by the State, these measures have been assembled for their ability to provide the most peace of mind and protection possible for our staff, guests, and community." For inclusion, GWA requires a full commitment to adopt all 15 protocols. In addition to the Open Texas plan created at the state government level, GWA adds daily temperature readings; dine-in guests will provide their names and complete a Health Declaration; enforced handwashing every 30 minutes and hand sanitation stations; single use and digital menus; mandatory masks for all staff and guests; access to employee health care and paid sick leave; mandatory social distancing and no intentional physical contact; indoor ventilation improvements; and other improvements. Perhaps most notable during the recent surge in positive cases, the GWA agreement requires:

"Employees will be counseled on appropriate behavior at and away from work by a medical professional to make sure that they are not putting our community at risk."

"Staff who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home and must fulfill one of the following options: 1) receive a note from a doctor allowing them to return to work; 2) receive a negative result from a COVID-19 test; 3) complete a 14 day self-quarantine."

"If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, we will thoroughly sanitize our business and require staff who worked with the infected employee anytime in the last 14 days to be tested or quarantined for two weeks."

The agreement is designed to not only keep restaurants and bars safe and afloat, but serve as guidance for other businesses as well as the public via patrons of participating restaurants – a comprehensive way to promote healthy practices for the larger community. For the full 15-point plan and more information, visit

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