How to Make Your Bar Area Safe for Employees & Customers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
✓ See Our Room Supply Checklist

Bar areas are a bridge between front and back of house and can be a hotspot for coronavirus transmission. Great thought and care should be taken to prevent the spread of germs between employees and customers.

Try to limit the amount of staff behind the bar.

If you don't already, limit who can go behind the bar and the direction in which any foot traffic behind the bar flows.
If your bar requires multiple staff behind it at the same time, reorganize roles and supplies as necessary to reduce cross-reach.
Mark 6' between employees.
  • If you use floor mats, use highly visible tape to place an X in the middle of the mat and a corresponding X on the floor to mark where they mats should go.
If 6' between employees isn't possible, install barriers.
  • This might be most applicable at the service bar where servers picks up drink orders.
  • Freestanding options don't require installation and allow you to make changes as recommendations and staffing needs change.
Reduce customer seating by either spacing stools 6' apart or placing a sign or X on the seat to denote that it is not to be used.
  • Consider adding partitions between stools.

Encourage frequent handwashing.

Proper handwashing – for a minimum 20 seconds as recommended by the CDC – is necessary for all restaurant employees, no exceptions. Bar staff should wash their hands:
  • When they start their shift.
  • After a break or using the bathroom.
  • At the end of their shift.

Promote the use of masks and gloves

Even if your bar is a service bar only and not open to customers, bartenders and bar backs will still interact with servers and other employees. Because of this constant exposure, masks and gloves should be worn by bar employees.
Masks and gloves are essential if you're serving customers at the bar.

Frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces

Frequently clean:
  • Counters and stools between each customer
  • Ice machine, freezer, and refrigerator doors and handles
  • Beverage taps
  • Sinks, sink faucets, and drying counters
Be sure your disinfectant is food safe and on the EPA's list of approved disinfectants that kill COVID-19.
Protect all clean items by:
  • Moving items such as napkins, condiment trays, and coasters out of customer reach.
  • Covering clean glasses and other barware so that respiratory droplets won't fall on/contaminate them.


It's also important to stay updated on recommendations and guidelines from the CDC, OSHA, and your state agencies.

COVID-19 Resources
Links to All U.S. States' COVID-19 webpages
OSHA's Guidance on Returning to Work (PDF)
CDC Resuming Business Toolkit (PDF)


Room Checklist

❏ Handwashing reminder signs
❏ Handwashing instructional signs
❏ Liquid hand soap dispenser and refills
❏ Automatic hand sanitizer dispenser and refills
❏ Reminder signs to maintain social distancing and wear facemasks
❏ Sign holders
❏ Disposable facemasks and face shields
❏ Disposable gloves
❏ PPE organizers/holders
❏ Disinfectant
❏ Disinfecting wipes
❏ Disinfecting wipes holders
❏ Hands-free waste containers with lids
❏ Hand sanitizer
❏ Directional floor signs/decals (if implementing one-way traffic)
❏ Social distancing signs/decals/markers
❏ Signs or tape to mark select stools as "not for use"
❏ Barrier shields/partitions

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