Restaurants & Farmers Markets

A.    Restaurants and bars: Effective Thursday, December 17 at 12:01am through Friday, January 8, 2021 at 11:59pm.

Restaurants and Bars: Restaurant or bar, including a wedding reception venue, winery, brewery, distillery, country club, or other social or fraternal club

  • Bars and restaurants can resume normal hours 
  • May open at 4:00am
  • No bar seating
  • Masks required when not seated (while playing games, dancing, etc.)
  • Six feet distancing between groups
  • Groups limited to 8 people unless larger group is all same household
  • Seated when eating or drinking and limit congregating

    Self-service prohibited: The establishment must not have any self-service of food, including buffets or salad bars.

    Live performances: An establishment may have live music performances, provided that any performer remains at least six feet away from patrons and other performers, and the establishment does not permit patrons from congregating together closer than six feet.

    Bars may still offer sealed containers of wine, beer, alcoholic liquors, or cocktails for consumption off the premises if the beverages are promptly taken from the premises. 

 Other social distancing, hygiene, and public health measures: The restaurant shall also implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each restaurant to ensure social distancing of employees and customers, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

SECTION SEVEN. Pursuant to Iowa Code§ 135.144(3), and in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, farmers markets, as defined in Iowa Code § 13 7F shall not be prohibited as a mass gathering under this Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, but only to the extent that the farmers market complies with the following requirements: 

A.    Farm Products and Food: The farmers market may only permit vendors who sell farm products or food. Vendors selling other goods or services are not permitted.
B.    Entertainment and Activities Prohibited: Children's entertainment, activities, and contests are prohiited. LIVE MUSIC IS PERMITTED.
C.    Common Seating Prohibited: Farmers markets must eliminate all common seating areas, picnic tables, or dining areas and shall prohibit vendors from having any seating for the public to congregate or eat food on the premises.
D.    Vendor Spacing: Farmers markets shall space all vendor booths or assigned parking areas so that there is six feet or more of empty space from the edge one vendor's assigned areas to the neighboring vendor.
E.    Social distancing, hygiene, and public health measures: Farmers markets shall also implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each market to ensure social distancing of vendors and customers, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 at farmers markets consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Any other farmers market that does not comply with these requirements is prohibited. Customers of farmers markets are strongly encouraged to engage in social distancing, wear a mask or other protective face-covering if unable to maintain a distance of six feet from others, practice good hygiene practices, and attend the market alone without other family members.

Source: Gov. Reynolds Proclamation December 16, 2020

It is critical that restaurant personnel review, and restaurants must ensure the following mandatory requirements included in the governor’s proclamation are in place and enforced:

  • Limit indoor and outdoor seating capacity to 50 percent of normal operating capacity. 
  • Limit group size to no more than six people.
  • Arrange seating to provide a minimum of six feet between tables. 
  • Disallow customer self-service of food or beverages, including buffets and salad bars.
  • Implement reasonable measures to ensure social distancing of employees and customers, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Additionally, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Public Health strongly recommend that all restaurants adhere to the following guidance:

  • Eliminate entertainment operations or activities.
  • Serve alcohol to a guest only if the guest is also ordering and consuming food items.
  • Disinfect tables and chairs after each customer use.
  • Clean and sanitize table condiments, reusable menus, digital ordering devices, check presenters, pens, napkin dispensers, salt and pepper shakers, and other commonly-touched items between each customer use.
  • Use prewrapped silverware and eliminate table presets including table tents, menus, salt and pepper shakers, napkin dispensers, and condiments. 
  • Eliminate refilling customer beverages from common containers (i.e., pitchers).
  • Discard single-use or paper articles, such as paper menus, after each use.
  • Create and implement an enhanced cleaning/sanitizing schedule for all food contact surfaces, and cleaning/disinfecting of non-food contact surfaces. 
  • Disinfect commonly-touched surfaces throughout entire facility (both front and back-of-house) such as door handles, credit card machines, bathrooms, etc., at least once every hour.
  • To the extent possible, on-premises dining should be by reservation only and customers should be screened upon reservation and arrival as to whether anyone in the party is positive, has any symptoms, is under quarantine, or has been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Post signage on entrance door that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 will be permitted in the restaurant.
  • Screen all employees each shift before entering the facility for symptoms (i.e., fever of 100°F or higher, cough, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, diarrhea, or vomiting). Immediately exclude anyone with symptoms from entering.
  • Where possible, workstations should be staggered to avoid employees standing directly opposite one another or next to each other, and maintain six feet of social distance. 
  • Require employees with direct customer contact to wear cloth or other mask that is laundered or replaced daily.
  • Frequently monitor employee handwashing and ensure no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
  • Notify customers by signage to report concerns of social distancing infractions to the restaurant manager.
  • Use technological solutions where possible to reduce person-to-person interaction (e.g. mobile ordering, mobile access to menus to plan in advance, text on arrival for seating, contactless payment options).
  • Enhance employee safety training, emphasizing employee health, handwashing, and personal hygiene practices.
  • Have hand sanitizer and sanitizing products readily available for employees and customers. 
  • Designate with signage, tape, or by other means appropriate social distancing spacing for employees and customers. Facilitate and designate social distancing for those waiting to enter your establishment. 
  • If possible, provide distinct walking lanes to minimize close contact as customers are being seated to conform to social distancing practices. For example, in a table/booth layout, central tables can be removed, and markings can be installed designating the path for seating.
  • Assign an employee each shift to monitor social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene protocols.


Other Sources Regarding Food Service Sources: