South Carolina’s Palmetto Priority Program for Restaurant Safety

Restaurants that choose to participate in the program will complete a checklist of operational assurances as outlined in the restaurant reopening guidelines, participate in required free online education, and participate in a DHEC limited-scope food safety inspection.

Restaurants that successfully complete the checklist and sign a commitment to their employees and customers will earn the endorsement of the program.

The Commitment

Restaurants must agree to the following priorities to protect their employees and customers and demonstrating leadership in safe sanitation practices with all employees on every shift.

  • Complete either a DHEC Virtual Food Safety Check or, after July, a Limited Scope Food Safety Inspection.
    • Available for free by scheduling with the restaurant’s food safety inspector or by contacting the DHEC food safety office
    • Confirmation available on the DHEC website
  • Managers must complete the ServSafe Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions.
    • 13-minute ServSafe Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions course is available free on the website
    • Certificate of completion available at the end of the course
    • All employees will be trained on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, proper face covering and respiratory etiquette
      • The ServSafe Take-Out and the ServSafe Delivery training videos are optional but highly encouraged if they apply to your operation.
  • Adhere to the minimum standards, as outlined below of the SCRLA Restaurant Reopening Guidance.
    • Post required signage advising customers not to enter if symptomatic
    • Appropriate signage to promote social distancing and walking traffic patterns
    • Select one person per shift to be in charge of safety and sanitation during the shift, observing and ensuring that hand washing is done appropriately, and sanitation of dining room areas, restrooms, lobbies and door areas is done regularly and consistently (minimum of hourly). 
    • Signs reminding of hand hygiene and proper hand-washing posted for customers and staff
    • Execute the restaurants plan to clean and disinfect common areas and surfaces regularly using chemicals appropriate for COVID-19 disinfection
    • Health safety checks for all employees before each shift
    • Each employee is required to wear a face-covering (i.e., cloth or paper face coverings, face masks, full face shields)
    • Hand sanitizing stations will be available to all customers and employees, including upon entry
    • Parties will maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other parties at all times, except when seated at tables or booths with partitions.
    • Only provide condiments (consider using PC products when appropriate), silverware, flatware, glassware, or other traditional tabletop items upon service/request. When the table is unoccupied all items should be removed
    • Tables are cleaned and disinfected in between seating
    • Self-service items such as buffets or drink stations are eliminated unless an attendant is provided to serve those items to guests or to supervise the use of gloves by the patrons
    • Menus are available digital, single-use or disinfected between guests

Complete details, including restaurant application and diner feedback is on the Palmetto Priority website here.