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On April 27, 2020, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) released its Critical COVID-19 Guidance Standards for Hospitality Reopening. The FRLA, with input from its restaurant subject matter expert team, developed the guidance in order to safely and expediently reopen restaurants to combat the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FRLA also shared the guidance with Governor Ron DeSantis’s Re-Open Florida Task Force Executive Committee.

The guidance stresses that because of COVID-19, the restaurant and lodging industry has been “thrust into a new paradigm that demands we again increase standards. . . . They are imperative to restoring consumer confidence and ensuring the survival of the hospitality industry.” As a result, the guidance recognizes that its experts are “profoundly engaged in determining the most effective mechanisms and processes by which we can deliver safe and sanitary guest experiences.”

The Initial Opening/Operating Guidance covers protocols for food safety, cleaning and sanitizing, monitoring employee health and personal hygiene, and monitoring social distancing. The guidance also addresses hotel protocols, including basic infection prevention measures, hygiene and environment safety, and social distancing.

The guidance does not address a specific timeframe for reopening, suggesting the governor’s task force will take the lead on the time line for reopening dining rooms for customers. The Re-Open Florida Task Force has recently launched a public comment submission portal, allowing Floridians to submit input on any topic related to the reopening of Florida’s economy, including the restaurant and hotel industry, as well as the impacts to small businesses, healthcare, education, tourism, etc.

Ogletree Deakins continues to monitor and report on developments related to the reopening of Florida’s hospitality and restaurant industry. As you plan for the recovery, Ogletree Deakins is continuing to regularly update its charts summarizing state and local closure and reopening orders, and employee screening and protective measures requirements.

As additional information becomes available, we will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center. Critical information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.

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Ogletree Deakins’ Hospitality practice is as diverse as the clients we serve. From bed-and-breakfast inns to destination resorts, and from fast casual restaurants to fine dining concepts, we understand our clients’ needs and challenges and share their commitment to providing exceptional quality, service, and value.

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