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Flaggs details how restaurants will operate when allowed to reopen

Local restaurants will be required to use disposable utensils, menus and tablecloths and keep a record of patrons under a series of regulations proposed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr.

Flaggs announced the proposed rules Wednesday during a Facebook Live question and answer session shared on The Vicksburg Post’s Facebook page. He also released a proposed set of regulations for barbershops and beauty salons.

The regulations are part of a plan by the mayor to slowly lift restrictions included in an emergency declaration approved March 25 by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. He did not give a date when he would begin lifting the restrictions.

The regulations, he said, are not mandatory, “all we do is encourage you to do these things. And if you do these things, you will minimize the threat and you will minimize the cases.”

“These measures that I’ve got for the restaurants and what I’ve got for the beauty salons, I think will work,” he said. “These are minimum standards. There’s nothing to stop you from going beyond these standards if you want to go back and open your business.”

The restaurant regulations include:

• Screen and evaluate customers and professionals who exhibit signs of illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.

“If you see it (someone sick) in your restaurant, whether it’s an employee or not, then I think you need to act accordingly,” Flagg said.

• All menus, table coverings and eating utensils should be disposable. There shall not be any condiments on the table, but condiments shall be provided upon request and only in disposable packets or containers.

“I’m told that the (table) cloth holds the virus longer, so you’re going to start using disposal menus, utensils and table cloths,” he said.

If people want condiments, Flaggs said, they will have to ask for them “so they (employees) can sanitize it and bring it to you.”

• There shall not be open seating, but seating shall be by a host/hostess or by reservation. There shall be no more than eight people at a table at a time. Restaurants should keep a daily log of names and contact information of customers in the event there is a positive case and persons need to be notified.

• All employees must wear a mask at all times.

•There shall not be more than two people in the restroom at a time and the 
restroom shall be disinfected hourly.

•Tables and chairs shall be disinfected after each party leaves the restaurant and before the next party is seated. Tables shall be placed 6 feet apart to the extent possible.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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