Recovery Guide’s Industry Guidelines: Restaurants

Terre Haute Chamber Recovery Guide’s Industry Guidelines: Restaurants

The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is committed to working with businesses in West Central Indiana to rebuild the economy of our community. To continue our mission of providing resources, information and support to our members, we have compiled industry specific information to serve as a guide for our local restaurants as you begin to look towards a new normal.

For our full Recovery Guide click here.


Local Restaurant Information via the Vigo County Health Department

VCHD Guidelines (PDF)

VCHD Restaurant Signage (Downloadable)

VCHD Q&A Document (May 5, 2020)


Indiana Restaurant Association

As restaurants prepare to open at 50% capacity on May 11, the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association (INRLA) shared some of what customers can expect when visiting a restaurant going forward: one-use menus or menus sent via text, waiting in vehicles for reservation times, single-use condiments, and tables removed or marked off, using only every other booth.

INRLA also published best practice specifications for restaurant employees and customers. Restaurant and food service jobs accounted for 10% of employment in Indiana in 2019 and generated just under $13 billion in sales. Every dollar spent in restaurants contributes between $1.56 to $1.75 to the state’s economy.

The restaurant industry has suffered significant sales and job losses since the COVID-19 outbreak. So far, more than 8 million restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed, and the industry will lose $80 billion in sales by the end of April. Follow the Recovery Blueprint for continued updates and information.

National Restaurant Association’s Hoosier Hospitality Promise

Best Practice Guidance for Restaurant and Lodging Operators 

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance 


New Outdoor Dining Guidance From the ATC

The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission just sent new guidance regarding outdoor dining. That guidance can be found below:

  • Can a restaurant expand the foot print of its restaurant by increasing the size of the patio? 
    • Yes as long as the restaurant continues to limit seating capacity to 50% of the original seating capacity of the restaurant, spaces the tables at least 6 feet apart, limits parties to 6 people or less, and only provides table service.
  • Can a restaurant expand the seating capacity of its restaurant during Stage 2 and Stage 3? 
    • No.
  • Can a restaurant add a patio area if the restaurant did not previously have a patio area? 
    • Yes as long as the restaurant continues to limit seating capacity to 50% of the original seating capacity of the restaurant, spaces the tables at least 6 feet apart, limits parties to 6 people or less, and only provides table service.
  • Can a restaurant expand a patio area into the right-of-way including a sidewalk or closed street? 
    • Yes, if the restaurant has permission from the local unit of government and follows the other requirements of the executive order.
  • How do I notify Indiana State Excise Police about my amended floor plan?
  • How do I indicate the new foot print of my patio area?
    • The temporary patio area must be delineated in some manner by rail, wall, or hedge. The delineation may be a temporary structure while the executive order is in place limiting the seating capacity of the restaurant.
  • Can I add an outdoor bar to my patio? 
    • No. Outdoor bars are not allowed for many permit types.  Additionally, bar areas must remain closed during Stage 2. Alcoholic beverage service on patios should be through table service only.


Indiana’s Back on Track Information:

Employer Checklist:

• Develop a protocol to screen employees upon entry
• Require symptomatic employees to stay home and recommend they be tested
• Place hand sanitizer in lobby, at cashier stations, and in restrooms
• Provide non-surgical masks and require use by employees
• Require employees to wash hands frequently
• Post signage stating customers should not enter with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 or develop
a protocol to screen customers
• Bar areas to remain closed
• Live music not permitted
• Limit the number of customers in the restaurant to 50% of the seating capacity
• Tables or available booths should be spaced at least 6 feet apart (including outside seating areas)
• Limit the number of customers at any table to 6 or less
• Consider using a reservation and/or call ahead only process to ensure capacity and distancing
requirements are not exceeded
• Limit number of persons in a waiting area (consider using a text or intercom system or allowing
only one member of a party to remain in waiting area with areas in the waiting area marked to
ensure proper distance)
• Consider installing shields at host/hostess stand and cashier stand
• Do not offer self-serve buffets, beverage stations, or condiments on a counter for access by
multiple users

• Frequently clean high-contact areas such as door handles, phones, pens, and keypads
• Use electronic ordering or disposable menus, or sanitize menus after each use
• Use disposable silverware or rolled silverware (and use gloves when rolling)
• Sanitize all tabletops and chair arms after each table turns
• Increase cleaning of restrooms
• Enhance cleaning of facility after hours and use recommended disinfectants