***Guidelines from bars beginning Friday June 5, 2020***
Is bar seating open during phase 2?
Yes, but there is no bar seating within 6 feet of a well or taps, an area where drinks are passed to servers, ice machines, or other areas used to prepare or serve food or beverages. Patrons should maintain 6 feet of social distancing, shared/community items should be eliminated and commonly touched surfaces should be frequently cleaned/disinfected.
Is restaurant counter seating "bar seating"?
Yes, these guidelines apply to for bar seating in restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and bars
Are there specific guidelines for poker rooms?
Beginning Friday June 5, 2020 poker rooms are allowed in Phase 2 with the same goals of the bar seating with the following specifications:
1) Poker rooms must require everyone to sanitize their hands upon entering or reentering the card room
2) Limit the number of available seats to six players in order to create some spacing between them
3) Players will verbalize all bets and the dealer will physically handle all chip transactions
4) All poker staff will wear masks, poker staff will sanitize and or wash hands in between each cash transaction
5) Poker staff will sanitize tables, chairs, chips and cards with disinfectant products every day and they will use steam for the fabric on the chairs and the vinyl covering on the tables
What is the required closure time for bar seating?
The required time of closure for bar seating in restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and bars during Phase 2 is extended from 11:30PM to 12:30AM.
Why is there an earlier closing time than 2 a.m. for bars?
The 12:30 a.m. closing time is to protect public health and lessen the spread of the virus. The recommendation for an earlier closing time before 2 a.m. was suggested by both health officials and industry representatives when the Montana reopening plan was developed in late April. In Phase 2, the closing time was extended from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
What are the social distancing guidelines for bar seating?
Bars stools should be spaced 6 feet apart. If a group of 6 or less comes in and requests to be seated together, a staff member can group seat together and then re-space to 6ft once the group leaves.
Is standing at the bar allowed?
All patrons should have a place to sit; no standing and mingling is allowed at the bar or elsewhere. Individuals who are actively participating in a bar game and able to socially distance from tables of 10 or less people may stand as part of participation in the game. Equipment for bar games should be kept behind the bar and wiped down with an EPA approved disinfectant between uses. Equipment that cannot be kept behind the bar should be cleaned by staff between participants.
What if 6 feet cannot be maintained between patrons and servers/staff using well areas or taps?
A physical barrier or closing wells may be used to protect servers/staff but the barrier must be at least 36 inches high and offer enough protection to prevent employee exposure to droplets from anyone seated within 6 feet of either side of the serving area.
Wells taken out of use should be marked with a sign to remind staff.
Can patrons order "to-go" at a bar/order alcohol at concession stands?
There may be a designated area at the bar, away from other customers, wells, taps, prep-stations where patrons may place and receive orders. Six feet of social distancing should be maintained by all patrons of separate parties and only one customer may use this space at a time. Patrons may grab their drink or order and then return to their seats. (See above if 6ft cannot be maintained.)
All-beverage and beer licensees must:
- Sell for off-premises consumption prior to closing time.
- Sell alcoholic beverages in original packaging* for delivery, curbside, drive-up or take-out. This includes growlers with beer and table wine.
- *Original packaging means the sealed container in which a manufacturer packages its product for retail sale. It includes bottles, cans, kegs, and growlers, but does not include lines or piping carrying product from a manufacturer's premises to a retailer's premises.
- Sell alcoholic beverages in individual servings** for take-out ONLY and the buyer assumes liability of local or state regulations regarding open container laws.
- ** Individual serving means not more than 16 ounces of beer, not more than 2 ounces of liquor, not more than 7 ounces of wine, or a proportional combination thereof (for example, 1 ounce of liquor mixed with 8 ounces of beer).
Can bars offer "shake-a-day"?
No shake-a-day unless dice and cup can be disinfected in-between patrons.
What are the phase 2 sanitary guidelines for bar areas?
Bar stools and counter space just be disinfected between patrons; no reusing drink coasters unless they can be disinfected between patrons and no refilling glasses, new glass is needed for each order; no community items included peanuts or other foods unless they can be served in individual containers.
Is Karaoke allowed?
Karaoke is not prohibited by the directive. Karaoke is offered in many forms depending on the establishment. Individual establishments should work with their local health departments to ensure social distancing can be maintained, and that equipment can be cleaned properly between patrons.