O'Charley's Restaurant and Bar

O'Charley's Restaurant and Bar/Facebook

This restaurant sent employees 8 pages of reopening procedures–but workers say they’re still not prepared

'We're not doing the social distancing thing.'


Samira Sadeque


Posted on May 4, 2020   Updated on May 4, 2020, 7:49 pm CDT

A restaurant chain that reopened in Georgia and Tennessee sent out to its employees an eight-page-long procedure on measures to follow in order to minimize the spread of the coronavirus when it reopened, BuzzFeed News reported

O’Charley’s, a restaurant chain that reopened its branches in two states on Thursday, sent some of their employees the extensive set of directions just two days before reopening. 

Restaurants began reopening in Tennessee early last week, while the number of positive COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the state. Georgia marked its first week of reopening on Friday.

The list includes detailed–and often impractical–guidelines for the managers and servers to follow, such as checking the temperature of guests before and after they enter the restaurant, asking every guest about potential symptoms of the coronavirus, and having the customers take their food from the tray.

“Guests with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be permitted on premise,” reads a part of the manual. 

More than half of the first page is a list of questions the manager must ask the customer to deduce the risk level of the customer and “make a reasonable decision to take additional precautions by increasing the distancing from others.”

Additionally, servers must change their gloves after serving each new table, wash their hands before changing gloves, and wash their hands after they have touched cash and after credit card transactions. 

But those actually working these shifts are worried that the guidelines aren’t actually being followed.

“We’re not doing the social distancing thing,” a server at a Tennessee branch told BuzzFeed on condition of anonymity to protect their job.    

The server said people at that branch also aren’t following other rules. For example, servers aren’t changing gloves after every table, and they said it’s not possible to wash hands every time they’ve handled cash. 

The employees BuzzFeed spoke with, who did not share their identity in fear of retaliation, seemed to have reservations about the restaurant opening. 

“I don’t believe we are prepared to open,” said a manager in a Tennessee branch, adding that they were unable to follow the precautions from the manual. “We’re running on a skeleton crew, and it’s not possible to do what we’re supposed to do.”

In this server’s case, they did not receive the eight-page manual but said employees were required to watch a 10-minute long video. The server said most people weren’t paying attention to it. 

“I didn’t even watch it,” she told Buzzfeed. “We had to play the video to show that we watched it during the meeting, but I couldn’t even tell you what was on the video.” 

At a preparation meeting a day before opening, managers weren’t even get a chance to ask questions, the manager said to BuzzFeed. 


H/T BuzzFeed News

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*First Published: May 4, 2020, 7:48 pm CDT