Weston County approved for specific variances to State Public Health Orders

Local News May 8, 2020



Weston County approved for specific variances to State Public Health Orders

WESTON COUNTY – After discussions to determine and balance risk, Weston County applied for and was approved for two countywide variances to the Governor’s Continuation of Public Health Orders #1, and #2.

It is important for business owners, religious organizations, and funeral homes who are affected by these variances, to read the orders in their entirety, as there are clear guidelines accompanying opening.

Please understand that all portions of the existing State Public Health Orders still apply, until a time in which they expire, with the following specific exemptions for Weston County. This includes the limiting of gatherings of people to under 10, unless otherwise specified.

With some guidance and limitations, these are the countywide variances to the existing state public health orders have been approved for Weston County:

Restaurants and bars may allow patrons inside, following guidance about social distancing, hygiene/sanitation, and infection prevention measures. It is effective immediately and will stand until May 15, pending changes in state health orders at that time.

Religious organizations may allow gatherings subject to the following provisions, to be enforced by religious organization leaders. Funeral homes can allow gatherings with distancing and other safety precautions listed in the countywide order.

Please read and understand the guidance and provisions below.

Also be aware that according to the countywide variances to the statewide order, any person or legal entity that violates this order shall be subject to criminal prosecution.


Details for Restaurants, Bars, Coffeehouses, etc…

Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distillery pubs, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering food, beverages, or alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption may operate with the following restrictions, to be enforced by the business owner:

Employer Guidelines Employee Symptom Screening…
Employees must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 or exposures to an individual with COVID-19 prior to each shift; employees with symptoms or exposure shall not be allowed to work; logs must be kept and available for inspection by the local health officer.

The business shall maintain a record of staff working hours, by date and time for purposes of COVID-19 tracing, in the event that contact tracing is necessary; if this record keeping is done manually, sanitizing measures must be taken on the instruments used for record keeping in between use

Tables & Seating Requirements…
1. All patrons of the business shall be seated at tables (including booths).
2. Tables shall be limited to groups of 6, preferably of the same household.
3. Tables with guests must be positioned so that guests at different tables are at least 6 feet apart from each other when seated.

Signage for Social Distancing…
Signage must be maintained to remind individuals from separate parties to stand at least 6 feet apart; waiting areas must have floor markers to indicate proper spacing.

Requirements for Social Distancing…
The business shall assure that social distancing guidelines are maintained while customers enter and remain in the establishment.

Observances for Staff…
1. Staff should wear face coverings at all times and perform hand hygiene between interactions with each table.

2. The business should encourage contactless and no-signature payment; if not possible, card and payment stations must be sanitized after each use; staff shall sanitize hands between handling payment options and food containers.

Observances for Staff Food Service…
1. Cups, lids, napkins and straws must be handed directly to customers by staff; tables must not be set prior to customer arrival.

2. Staff shall avoid touching items that have been placed on the table. The table must be cleared by a dedicated staff member once all guests have left.

3. Dedicated staff members shall sanitize the area occupied by customers upon departure including tables, menus, pens, salt and pepper shakers, chairs, etc. (consider the use of disposable items if necessary).

4. Self-service condiments should be eliminated unless they can be cleaned adequately between customers.

5. No self-serve food service or buffet options may be available unless food is pre-packaged; drink refills are not allowed in the same containers; To-go boxes, pizza boxes, paper cups, and any other paper product that touches food must be treated as food.

6. Staff shall use gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods (including ice); gloves are not required when handling foods that have yet to be cooked.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Requirements…
1. The business may not operate if PPE, EPA-approved disinfectants and sanitizers, soap, and other necessary cleaning supplies are not available.

2. Hand sanitizer must be available at the restaurant entrance and immediately adjacent to bathrooms.

3. The business shall clean and disinfect in the morning, afternoon, and evening; all tables, chairs, door handles, floors, bathrooms, and any high touch surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected.

Special Event and Play Area Regulations…
Playgrounds at the business must remain closed; and no dart/pool leagues, dances, events, or karaoke may take place at the business.

Details for Religious organizations, Churches, Funerals etc…

Guidelines Leader, Staff Symptom Screening…
Religious organization leaders, funeral home owners, and staff must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 or exposure to a person with confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 14 days; leaders, owners, or staff with symptoms of illness or known exposure to a person with COVID-19 infection within the previous 14 days shall not participate in the service or meeting.

Requirements for Leader and Staff Social Distancing…
Religious organization leaders, funeral home owners, and staff who come within 6 feet of attendees shall wear a face covering.

Religious organization leader(s), funeral home owner(s), and staff speaking to the group do not need to wear a face covering while addressing the individuals present but must maintain a 6 foot distance from others.

Requirements for Attendee Social Distancing and Seating…
1. Individuals should be encouraged to wear a face covering throughout the service.

2. Individuals participating in the service or meeting should be informed on maintaining proper hand hygiene, avoiding touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth, and covering coughs and sneezes.

3. Individuals participating in the service or meeting should be informed to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have had known close contact with an individual with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.

4. High risk individuals and those who live or work with high-risk individuals should be encouraged to stay home; high risk individuals are those aged 65 and older, are immunocompromised, or have other health factors as identified by the CDC .

5. Religious organizations should designate areas inside the facility reserved for high-risk individuals or offer a service for high-risk individuals only.

6. A 6-foot distance must be maintained between individual household groups at all times.

7. The number of people in a confined area at any time must be limited to allow for adequate distancing between households.

8. Close contact between members of different households is prohibited before, during, and after the meeting or service.

9. Religious organizations should offer the ability to watch or listen to the service or meeting from home, if the organization has that ability.

Requirements For Cleaning and Disinfecting of Multi-touch Items and Surfaces…

1.  Hand sanitizer should be provided at the door for people to use upon entrance and exit from the building.

2. Reading materials, collection plates, and communion trays must be passed out to individual attendees by staff rather than passed between attendees.

3. Communion must be served in individual containers; if containers are not available for the communion item, assigned individuals may place the item into an attendees hands only after appropriate hand washing has been completed and while wearing gloves and a mask.

4. There may be no exchange of food or drink.

5. Buildings must be cleaned thoroughly including all high touch areas before and after each service or meeting, done according to CDC guidelines for cleaning.


You can view the entire Countywide Variance(s) to Statewide Orders HERE and HERE.


The approved variances are a much anticipated easing of some of public health restrictions. They will stand as written for at least 2 weeks, until May 15th, upon which date, county public health officials will weigh risks, based on data, and continued assessment of capacity, and make further decisions at that point as to the next best step for Weston County.

With high hopes, continued caution, and by following these provisions and guidelines, we’ll be able to move forward safely.

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