Food Premises Guidance

  • The maximum seating capacity for all food premises is 100 patrons indoors and 200 patrons outdoors, unless approved for an additional cohort(s). Cohorts are limited to aid in contact tracing in the event that a case identifies in connection to a food premises.

All businesses and organizations operating during the COVID-19 pandemic are required to have an operational plan. Make sure all employees are familiar with the contents of the operational plan.

Preventive measures

The preventive measures required in the operational plan require operators to:

  • Take every reasonable step to ensure minimal interaction of people (including employees and/or clients) within two metres (six feet) of each other.
  • Take every reasonable step necessary to prevent employees who are required to self-isolate from entering workplaces.
  • Develop and follow an exclusion policy that ensures symptomatic employees are immediately excluded from work activities.
  • Ensure enhanced cleaning and disinfection of shared areas and surfaces.
  • Ensure hand washing stations or hand sanitizing products are available.
  • Take every reasonable step to prevent interactions between multiple cohorts/gatherings (if applicable). 

This guidance is subject to change. Food premise operators are advised to remain informed of orders and directives issued by the Chief Public Health Officer. 

For guidelines and public health measures required of businesses, visit Public Health Measures Guidance 

General Considerations

  • Physical distancing (2 metres/6 feet) must be maintained between patrons at different tables as well as for patrons seated at the bar or in the waiting area(s). This applies to both indoor and outdoor seating areas.
  • Recreational activities within food premises not allowed at this time include, but are not limited to, dance floors, indoor play areas, and karaoke. Recreational activities that are permitted include pool tables, outdoor play areas, trivia, VLTs, and bingo.
  • Singing is permitted, at a distance of 3.5 m (12 feet) apart from one another and everyone else unless a non-medical mask is worn, in which case, singers must remain a minimum of 2 metres (6 feet) apart from one another and everyone else. 
  • Customers in a restaurant, dining room or other licensed premises are required to remain seated for service, except for going to washrooms and entering/exiting.
  • Rearrange waiting areas – consider things like removing chairs and benches, asking patrons to wait outside for a table, posting signs, stanchions, tape on floor, etc. to promote physical distancing.
  • Create separate take-out and dine-in protocols. Designate a door or path separate from dine-in patrons for payment and/or pickup, if possible. Introduce clear signage (e.g. floor markers) for take-out versus dine-in, and for entrances and exits into the food premises.  
  • Aisles should be wide enough to permit physical distancing. Consider a one-way system for movement throughout the food premises.
  • Ensure a two metre (six feet) physical distance from other workers and patrons.
  • Physical barriers should be in place where the two metre (six feet) physical distancing is not possible. (e.g., heighten barriers between booths, at work stations at bars, at payment stations, etc.).
  • Provide a temporary handwash station or hand sanitizer, with signage, at the door for patrons to use when they enter the restaurant.
  • Consider limiting the number of available stalls and urinals to encourage physical distancing in washrooms.
  • Washroom sanitation must be enhanced.
  • Manage break times and schedules (stagger) to support maintaining physical distances between staff members.
  • Consider creating cohorts of staff members who work together and who do not interact with other cohorts. This will assist in reducing transmission throughout the workplace and with contact tracing in the event that a staff member becomes ill.
  • Provide signage and guidance to patrons regarding physical distancing, not entering the food premises if they are ill and other messaging related to COVID-19 guidance.
  • Encourage contactless payment.

Table Service

  • Consider controlling access to the dining room by having patrons wait to be seated.
  • Reservations are encouraged for in-room dining.
  • For table service, food premises must record at minimum, the name and phone number of one person per table and the total number of patrons in the dining party. This can be done with a responsible person completing attendance on site or electronically with verification on site. Records including the names and phone number should be kept for one month to facilitate contact tracing in the event of an outbreak. Operations should have an internal process in place to quickly retrieve these records, should the records be needed, even on weekends. These records should be stored in a safe, secure location for one month after creation of the records and then disposed of using a secure destruction method to maintain the confidentiality of participants. For paper records, secure destruction means, at minimum, cross-cut shredding.
  • Avoid touching water glasses and/or coffee cups when refilling.
  • If patrons ask to take unfinished food with them, provide the packaging and let the patron put the food into the container.
  • Use digital menu boards, large chalkboards, or online pre-ordering alternatives instead of traditional menus. If this is not possible, consider single-use disposable menus or reusable menus that can be cleaned and disinfected between patrons.
  • If there is customer seating at the bar, and physical distancing cannot be maintained between the seated customers and staff work stations, a physical barrier is required. 
  • Table service is required for alcoholic drinks. 


  • Self-serve buffets are not permitted at this time.
  • Served buffets are permitted, provided: 
    • congestion and mixing at the served buffet is minimized (e.g. one group/table at a time), and
    • the line-up is 6 ft away from any individuals seated or otherwise partaking in the gathering,
    • those in the line-up are six feet from the food, or there is a sneeze guard in place or food items are wrapped,
    • the server frequently practices hand hygiene, and is screened for symptoms of COVID-19,
    • self serve food or non-alcoholic drink stations are permitted, provided: 
      • food items are individually wrapped,
      • hand washing facilities or alcohol-based sanitizers are within easy reach of the station,
      • the stations are supervised,
      • signs are posted at the self-serve station, to remind people to wash or sanitize their hands before touching self-serve food, drink or other items, and to maintain a two metre distance from other patrons,
      • any high touch surfaces are frequently cleaned and disinfected,
      • congestion at the station is minimized (e.g. one group/table at a time).


  • Limit the number of staff members in a food preparation area at any one time.
  • Consider designating staff members to certain areas of the kitchen to ensure physical distancing requirements can be maintained.  
  • Where physical distancing between workspaces is not possible, kitchen staff are recommended to wear non-medical masks.  Also, consider the use of physical barriers made of non-porous materials such as plexiglass. Prior to installing physical barriers, contact the necessary departments (e.g. Charlottetown or Summerside Fire Inspection Services, Fire Marshal’s Office, Worker’s Compensation Board) to ensure it meets their requirements. 
  • Establish directional arrows on the floor in kitchen settings to control flow of traffic and reduce interaction between cooking and clearing areas.
  • When applicable, clearly mark exit and entrance doors from kitchen to service area to avoid interaction between food being served and dishes being cleared.
  • Restrict access into the food preparation area by delivery agents and members of the public and other staff members.
  • As much as possible, cooks and chefs should use their own high-use tools such as knives.


  • Stagger start times for food delivery drivers to prevent crowding at restaurant dispatch locations.
  • Drop off packages at the door or outside buildings; call ahead and/or text instructions so the delivery driver is aware of any site requirements and the customer can be ready to accept the delivery.
  • Adjust practices for proof of delivery so that in-person signatures are avoided and online confirmation of receipt of package can be used instead.

Cleaning and Hygiene

  • Develop and establish hand hygiene policies and procedures for all staff members. Post handwashing signs near all sinks.
  • Establish hygiene practices that address the needs of the workplace.
  • Have hand sanitizer (with 60-80% alcohol) available to patrons and staff members (including in delivery vehicles). Install additional dispensers as needed.
  • Clarify procedures for cleaning staff areas and train accordingly.
  • Follow the written sanitation plan for the premises. 
  • Enhance cleaning of all frequent touchpoints and shared equipment is required.  This includes, but is not limited to: walls, tables, chairs, barstools, coasters, condiments, coat hooks, restrooms, POS terminals, debit machines, door/equipment handles/knobs, breakrooms, etc.  
  • Tables, vinyl or laminated menus, and seats should be cleaned and sanitized when tables turn. 
  • Remove salt and pepper shakers, sauce dispensers, candles, and other table top items or sanitize between sittings. Consider single-use options.
  • Install touch-free soap and paper towel dispensers in washrooms, if possible.
  • Ensure staff are provided with appropriate supplies, such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.
  • Ensure shared vehicles for delivery are included in your cleaning protocol, including a disinfectant wipe down of all touch points (e.g., door handles, steering wheels, portable debit machines, seats, windows, stairs, handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, garbage handles, seats, phones).


  • Follow current mask guidelines.
  • Effective July 9, it is no longer mandatory for non-medical masks to be worn in public, indoor spaces in PEI.
  • Masks are recommended in indoor public settings for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated or who are immunocompromised.
  • Those who serve the public (e.g., restaurant servers) should continue to wear a mask, given they are not able to determine the vaccine status of their patrons and customers.
  • Service providers, organizations and businesses do not need to request proof of vaccine from patrons who are not wearing a mask.
  • Businesses and organizations may choose to follow their own policies and guidelines that are more strict than the provincial guidance
Published date: 
June 7, 2021
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121