Bar Compliance Letter

08 July 2020

On July 8, 2020, the commissioners of the Department of Liquor & Lottery, the Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Health issued guidance to Vermont 1st and 3rd Class License Holders, Vermont bars and restaurants, regarding Work Safe Additions to the Be Smart, Be Safe Order.  To download a pdf version of the letter, click here.


To:         Vermont 1st and 3rd Class License Holders              

From:     Patrick Delaney, Commissioner of Liquor & Lottery

              Michael Schirling, Commissioner of Public Safety

              Mark Levine, Commissioner of Health Department

cc:            Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, Director of Vermont State Police

               Lindsay Kurrle, Secretary of Agency of Commerce & Community Development

               Martin Manahan, Chair of the Liquor and Lottery Board

Date:      July 8, 2020

Re:        Work Safe Additions to the Be Smart, Be Safe Order

On May 15, 2020, Gov. Phil Scott signed Addendum 14, a Be Smart, Stay Safe order to facilitate additional re-openings and further ease public health restrictions, subject to strict health and safety standards and accompanied by sector guidance from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

As of July 7, 2020, the current operating standards for 1st and 3rd class liquor license holders are as follows: 

  1. Restaurants, Catering, Food Service, and Bars
  • Signs must be prominently posted at all entrances stating that no one with a fever, respiratory illness, or symptoms of COVID-19 (see Centers for Disease Control and prevent list of symptoms for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are  allowed on premise. 
  • Occupancy & Seating 
    • Restaurants, catering, food service, and bars may allow 50 percent of fire safety occupancy or 1 person per 100 square feet, with a maximum of 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. 
    • Seating must be available for all patrons and seating must allow for physical distancing of at least six feet between seated dining parties. Standing is not allowed. Customers must be seated while consuming food or beverages.
    • Bar seating and drink or food production areas must remain closed to all patrons to reduce prolonged contact between patrons and bartenders and to prevent close contact between patrons and the food and drink of other customers.
    • A counter area, such as a lunch counter or diner counter, may be open if there is six feet between customers and six feet between the customer and any waitstaff and no food or beverage production or storage occurs at the counter.
    • Operators must limit the total number of customers served/seated in OUTSIDE seating at one time to 150 or their maximum licensed seating capacity, whichever is fewer. 
    • Reservations or call ahead seating is required. Reservations should be staggered to prevent congregating in waiting areas. Waiting areas must accommodate physical distancing.   
  • For takeout or counter service (no wait staff), no reservations or logs of customers are required.  Please note that an absence of logs may require a public announcement of possible exposure if a case is identified.  
  • Disposable or electronic menus are required.  
  • Consider using rolled silverware and eliminating table presets. Disposable/single use condiment packets are encouraged.  Multi-use condiments and all other items for general use must be cleaned and sanitized between customers.   
  • Use of shared food service (buffet style, coffee stations, beverage stations) and self-serve utensils, plates or napkins, are prohibited.   
  • Customers should be encouraged to wear face coverings when not eating.  
  • Restrooms should be monitored and routinely cleaned and soap dispensers regularly filled.  
  • Disinfect all front-of-house surfaces including door handles, screens, phones, pens, keyboards; as well as tables, chairs and other areas of high hand contact frequently.  
  • Licensed caterers and licensed manufacturers may follow this guidance for either outdoor or indoor Catering Event Permits and Special Event Permits in compliance with all Department of Liquor and Lottery permitting and license requirements.  These events must adhere to the event venue guidance found in section 10.1 allowing 50 percent of fire safety occupancy or 1 person per 100 square feet, with a maximum of 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. 
  • Bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, cideries and tasting rooms may offer outdoor beverage service in compliance with this outdoor dining guidance, and the temporary outdoor consumption notification and permit stipulations established by the Department of Liquor and Lottery
  • Operators must maintain an easily accessible log of customers and their contact information for 30 days in the event contact tracing is required by the Health Department. This must include at least the name and phone number of one member of a party making a reservation with the date and time the person visited the establishment. 

We know that this is difficult but these health and safety requirements are in effect for one crucial reason: They are essential for the safety of Vermonters and others in the state to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help ensure the health care system has the capacity to care for the Vermonters who experience the worst impacts of this highly contagious disease.

It is important for you to know that, because indoor congregate settings, likes bars, have proven to be significant vectors for the disease, the State, in coordination between the Departments of Liquor and Lottery and Public Safety, and in partnership with local law enforcement and health officers, will begin performing inspections of properties for compliance.

If you are operating outside of the terms of sector guidance and the order, you may be subject to penalties through the Department of Liquor and Lottery and/or contacted by the Board of Liquor and Lottery.

Further guidance is available from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Those requesting additional information may fill out this online form.

We appreciate the sacrifices you are making on behalf of all Vermonters and look forward to your full compliance with this order.

Contact Information

Vermont Department of Liquor Control
13 Green Mountain Drive
Montpelier VT 05620-4501
Phone: 802-828-2345
Toll Free in Vermont: 800-642-3134
Fax: 802-828-2803

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