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Salt Lake County Health Department
General Information  
Phone: (385) 468-4100

Frequently Asked Questions

Food Service

Q: When does the ban on dine-in operations go into effect?

A: This Public Health Order issued by Salt Lake County is effective March 16, 2020. Food service businesses across Salt Lake County must be in compliance by 11 p.m. on March 16. 

The Utah Department of Health, in coordination with the Governor's Office, also issued a similar Public Health Order for the entire state on March 17.

Q: Can customers pick up a prepared meal from inside our establishment?

A: Yes, customers—who are not ill and who maintain 6 feet of space between other patrons—can order inside an establishment, and pick up orders for take-out.

Dining rooms must be closed to patrons. Payment systems should be sanitized between each customer.

Establishments are prohibited from admitting patrons except to order and pick up food for take-out.

Q: I don’t have a drive-thru window, can I still provide food service to customers?

A: Patrons may enter the establishment to order or obtain pickup or to-go orders. Businesses must also follow the social distancing component of the Order and comply with sanitation recommendations of SLCoHD. Patrons must maintain a minimum of 6 feet from other patrons. Dining areas must be closed to access by patrons.

Q: Can food trucks and carts operate?

Food trucks and carts are allowed to continue operations because the order prohibits people from ordering INSIDE a food establishment. No one should ever enter a food truck except employees. 

We strongly encourage trucks to allow pre-orders and payment online, but orders by customers from outside the food truck are acceptable.

The main messages for food trucks are:

  1. They must have a separate money handler that does not prepare food.
  2. They must encourage social distancing of at least 6 feet when they start to get a line of customers.
  3. We recommend that they set up an online order system that includes payment.
Q: Can convenience stores still operate?

Convenience stores should frequently sanitize commonly touched items and surfaces. An employee who handles cash/cashiering may not be involved in food operations.

See the complete guidance for convenience stores here.

Q: Can cafeterias and made-to-order food service continue to operate?

A: Made-to-order food service (sandwich shops, bagel shops, fast casual) and cafeterias, within businesses or as separate food-service entities, may not operate with dine-in service. They may provide food for customers to eat elsewhere alone (such as in a personal office or personal vehicle). Patrons must exit the establishment as soon as they have picked up their order; they cannot linger.

Q: Can I still provide catering?

A: You may provide catering to groups under 10 people as long as everyone in the group remains 6 feet apart and it is not self-serve.

Q: Can customers still access my self-serve buffet for takeout?

A: No. Self-service buffets are not allowed.

Q: Can restaurants, cafes, and delis within grocery stores still operate?

A: For pickup and take-out only.

Q: What about bulk food items at grocery stores?

A: Self-serve unpackaged bulk food items at grocery stores are not allowed.

Q: Can food courts operate in malls?

A: For pickup and take-out service only. 

Q: How should we handle payments?

A: We recommend handling payments remotely, either via app or over the phone. If payment in person is necessary, maintain 6 feet between people and wash hands after each transaction (for cash), or sanitize the customer point-of-sale keypad/device after each transaction.

An employee cashiering/handling cash MAY NOT handle food or food containers in any way.

Q: Are cash transactions allowed?

A: If a distance of 6 feet is maintained between people, and the cashier washes hands between each transaction, cash transactions are allowed.

The cashiering employee may not be involved in food service in any way.

Q: What should we do if employees cannot eat meals in work areas?

A: For businesses that cannot permit employees to eat in work areas, offices, or at their desks, we suggest employees eat outdoors spaced 6 feet from other individuals or within their personal vehicles.

Q: What is the penalty for not following the order?

Under Utah Code 26A-1-123(5)(a)(i), the criminal penalty for violating a public health order is a class B misdemeanor.

But the intent of this order is not to penalize; the intent is to convey how serious COVID-19 is to public health and what's at stake.

Q: Where can I find small business support?

A: On March 17, the Governor Office’s has convened an Economic Task Force where you can seek additional information. We suggest visiting the State Coronavirus website,

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce also has additional information for local businesses at