Information current

September 23, 2020

We're in Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Watch the latest video update.

For non-medical questions, email covid19info@gov.yk.ca or phone 1-877-374-0425.

For medical questions or if you feel ill, phone 811, or launch the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

Bars, pubs, lounges and nightclubs reopening guidelines: COVID-19

Bars, pubs, lounges and nightclubs can reopen with up to 50% of their regular seating capacity. They could open from June 19, 2020, as long as they have an approved plan in place.

Reducing seating is intended to promote physical distancing and to limit the size of groups. 

How to get approval to reopen

To be able to reopen you must:

  • develop an operational plan related to COVID-19 using the template; and
  • submit your operational plan for approval through the COVID19info@gov.yk.ca email.

What you need to know about the spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 is most commonly spread from someone who is infected through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when they cough or sneeze;
  • close prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; or
  • touching something with the virus on it then touching their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands.

These guidelines outline key steps to put in place to ensure physical distancing, good hygiene practice and enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection in your premises to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Follow these guidelines

These guidelines outline key steps to put in place to ensure physical distancing, good hygiene practice and enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection in your premises to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Staff must use the online self-assessment tool before coming into work.
  • Employees must stay home when they’re ill.

Businesses must:

  • Post signs advising customers who arrive with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms to return home.
  • Ensure hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is available upon entry and exit for public and staff use.
  • Limit seating to 50% of maximum capacity and set up in a way to maintain 2 metres of physical space between patrons.
  • Limit groups and private events to no more than 50 patrons in total.
  • During events, patrons should physically distance and practise Safe 6 precautions. People who leave the premises where the event is being held may not be replaced by other patrons.
  • Deliver drinks and food directly to patrons. No self-serve bar service to individual patrons may be provided.  Patrons may only be served at their designated table or seat.
  • Do not provide open self-serve food to customers (including refill stations, condiment stations and snacks). Pre-packaged foods are acceptable but must be handled by employees only.

Businesses may:

  • Continue to provide take-out services for orders placed by telephone, online or other remote means.
  • Allow live music, including singing and wind instruments. The following requirements should be followed:
    • Live music should be in an outdoor space if possible but may be allowed inside. Inside performances are subject to the following conditions:
      • Physical distancing of 2 metres or 6 feet or a physical barrier must be maintained between musicians and patrons at all times.
      • Where singing is included in a live music performance, 3.5 metres or a physical barrier must be maintained. This includes distancing between patrons and other performers and musicians.
      • Karaoke is permitted for solo performers only. Microphones must be disinfected between uses. Performers may bring and use their own microphone. Singers must be 3.5 metres from other patrons or separated with a physical barrier.
      • Wind and brass instruments are permitted outdoors only with physical distancing requirements of 2 metres (6 feet).
      • Musicians and performers must be screened for illness before each performance.
      • Ensure musicians and performers are practising frequent hand hygiene.
      • Musicians and performers must not share instruments, music stands or other related equipment. If equipment will be shared then it must be sanitized between uses.
      • Performers must use their own individual microphones – 2 singers may not share a microphone. Disinfect microphones between users. Microphone covers may be used. Covers must be changed between users. Disinfect microphone prior replacing cover.

Businesses must not:

  • Open up recreation areas, such as dart boards, pool tables, dance floors, gaming (for example, video games and pinball) or other recreation.
  • Permit or allow dancing.

Physical distancing

  • Place signs near entrances informing customers of the physical distancing methods being used in your food premises.
  • Place floor markers where service is provided or lines form to ensure 2 metres (6 feet) distance between customers at all times.
  • Maintain a single point of entry into your establishment. Regulate entry, including lines and waiting areas, to prevent congestion. Maintain physical spacing of 2 metres.
  • Educate staff on the importance of physical distancing and promote physical distancing for staff and customers wherever possible, including waiting areas, bar seating, food or beverage pick-up areas and payment lines.
  • Install high sneeze guards (Plexiglas barriers or dividers) where staff are required to be in close contact with customers. This best practice should be considered to protect employees who encounter many people. For example, raised barriers should be installed at host or hostess desks or at a cashier station.
  • If a bar or food preparation area is open to seating, seating areas or any other public area, items such as utensils, garnishes and glassware must be 2 metres away from members of the public or protected from cross-contamination.
  • Install physical barriers where tables cannot be adequately separated. For example, raised barriers should be installed between adjoining booths.
  • Only seat members of the same party together. A maximum of 6 people can be seated together at the same table. Larger groups must occupy more than 1 table, maintaining physical distancing between tables. No movement of patrons between tables is alowed.
  • Members of a party should be family or others in a household bubble.
  • Space aisles between tables wide enough to allow room for people to maintain physical distancing.
  • Consider using a 1-way traffic flow to help maintain distancing.
  • Space tables 2 metres (6 feet) apart.
  • Customers can sit at bar areas, as long as physical distancing is maintained between groups and between individual customers.
  • Staff should maintain physical distancing whenever possible and wear a non-medical mask when that is not possible.
  • Staff may wear a non-medical mask if they choose to. Wearing a mask does not replace the need to observe all the other requirements.
  • All items behind the bar (for example, glassware, dishware and garnishes) must be protected from exposure to customers and cross-contamination. Physical barriers may be an appropriate measure.
  • Arrange staff rooms and break rooms to allow physical distancing practices. Consider staggered break times to limit the number of employees.

Sanitation and hygiene

  • Ensure staff are practising proper hygiene. This includes frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow rather than a hand or the environment, and avoiding touching your face.
  • Encourage customers to use hand sanitizer upon entry.
  • Remove table items such as napkins, condiments, menus and décor unless they can be cleaned between customers.
  • Hand out tableware or utensils to customers. Where possible, use rolled silverware.
  • Clean surfaces such as tables, chairs and booths between customers.
  • Develop measures for servers to limit their contact with customers, including the following.
    • Have guests pour their own beverages or have staff pre-pour beverages before delivering them to the table.
    • Remove 1 chair at each table and use that space as a designated place for the server to stand at the table, similar to the open end of a booth.
    • Leave food and drinks at the front of the table.
    • Avoid touching cups and glasses for refills.
    • Provide packaging for customers to pack their own unfinished food items. Reusable or customer supplied containers are not permitted.
  • Remove self-service condiments. Provide them to customers upon request.
  • Employees who choose to use gloves must thoroughly wash their hands before and after each change of gloves. Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. It’s important to:
    • remove gloves when changing tasks;
    • use new gloves each time gloves are removed; and
    • change gloves every hour, or more often, as necessary.
  • Encourage payments through contactless methods (for example, tap or e-transfer). Clean and disinfect pin pads and card readers after each use.
  • There’s currently no evidence that communicable diseases, including COVID-19, can be passed on through touching or handling cash. Using cash is important for some people who have no other way of paying. Staff must wash their hands after accepting cash.

Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection

  • Enhance your cleaning and disinfection policies and procedures.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection of essential shared facilities, such as telephones, computers and washrooms.
  • Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and organic material from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill or deactivate germs.
  • Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill or deactivate germs on surfaces. This process does not work effectively if surfaces are not cleaned first.
  • Disinfectants should have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it’s approved for use in Canada. Refer to the Health Canada information at Hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Check the expiry dates of products you use and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Use chlorine bleach solutions for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
    • Ensure a minimum of 2 minutes’ contact time and allow to air dry.
  • Prepare fresh bleach solutions daily.
  • Prepare chlorine bleach solutions according to the instructions on the label or in a ratio of:
    • 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) bleach per cup (250 millilitres) of water; or
    • 4 teaspoons (20 millilitres) bleach per litre (1,000 millilitres) of water.
  • Educate staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants. Follow directions for:
    • required disinfectant contact times (that’s the amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection);
    • safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE); and
    • where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect high traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces and objects such as door handles, light switches, counters and faucets.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least twice per day and when visibly dirty.
    • Ensure you spend enough time cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Ensure washrooms are always well-stocked with liquid soap, paper towels and toilet paper and that warm running water is available. Antibacterial soap is not required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Make sure washrooms are available for customers and staff use at all times.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting staff and customer washrooms.
  • Empty garbage bins frequently.

About these guidelines

The information provided in this document is based on current recommendations and is subject to change. All food safety and sanitation requirements continue under the Public Health and Safety Act’s Eating or Drinking Places Regulation.

If you have questions

We understand this is a challenging time and thank you for your dedication and support of others in our community.

Find up-to-date information on COVID-19.

Contact Environmental Health Services with questions about food premises and health protection at 867-667-8391 or environmental.health@gov.yk.ca.

If staff have individual health concerns, they should call Yukon’s HealthLine at 811.