LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Restaurants depend on their employees to provide great customer service. It’s essential for any business that has a high level public contact.
COVID-19 has complicated the expectations put on food servers and wait staff.
But many of the principles of customer service provide solid ground for the conflicts that arise with customers.
Guidance from the Restaurant Law Center offers courses of action on a few points that come up with COVID-19 regulations:
What if a guest refuses to wear a mask on Constitutional grounds?
Guests and employees have no constitutional free speech rights in a private business or workplace. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to free speech from infringement by the U.S. Government — not a private business. Similarly, state constitutions do not create such rights. Thus, a restaurant can legally deny service to individuals that refuse to wear a mask for alleged Constitutional reasons.
What if a guest refuses to comply because of a disability?
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires restaurants to provide equal enjoyment of goods and services to individuals with disabilities. If a guest has a medical or disability-related condition that may require an accommodation, then the restaurant must consider the reasonable accommodation it can offer the guest. A guest must advise the business he/she needs an accommodation if the need for one is not obvious. A restaurant should not request medical documentation when a guest requests a public accommodation. However, a restaurant need not accommodate a guest if doing so would impede the business’s ability to safely provide its goods and services. Under current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, allowing unmasked members of the public into business establishments creates a health and safety risk. Moreover, COVID-19 is spread by persons who may be asymptomatic, and who possibly have no idea whether they carry the virus. As a result, guests are required to wear masks or other suitable face coverings (e.g., bandana, face shield, and the like) under state and local ordinances mandating masks. Under these circumstances, businesses have a good faith basis to not accommodate an unmasked member of the public. Although, no-contact shopping alternatives should be considered and communicated to the guest where a disability is involved, such as allowing for a curbside order.
The Restaurant Law Center also provides this information regarding requirements for face masks in Nevada and Clark County:
Are guests required to wear face masks when coming into a restaurant?
Nevada: Businesses operating during Phase Two of the Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery plan shall ensure that all patrons, customers, patients, or clients utilize face coverings, subject to the guidelines that shall be promulgated pursuant to this Directive, including prohibiting persons without face coverings from entering the premises. The mandatory provisions of this Directive shall not apply to individuals who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage services, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.
Clark County: COVID-19 Guidance for Food Establishments
All staff in food establishments should wear non-hospital grade, cloth face coverings.
Cloth Face Covering
Screening employees daily can help in preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the workplace.
Each day, before the start of the shift, ask each employee the following questions:
- Do you have a fever (100.4°F or higher), or a sense of having a fever?
- Do you have a new cough that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
- Do you have new shortness of breath that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
- Have you come into close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who has a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?