Diners will not be allowed to sit face-to-face in restaurants and canteens in Beijing during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest government notice.
The guidelines issued by the Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau also asked outlets of catering firms and canteens of government units and institutes to place dining tables at an interval of at least 1 meter.
Restaurants must strictly limit the density of diners and check their temperatures at the entrance, said the guidelines, which also demand timely disinfection of tables, doorknobs, faucets and other facilities that are regularly touched by customers.
In particular, it advocates the use of QR codes for placing orders and paying bills, a technological innovation that has already entered many Chinese eateries to raise efficiency and reduce contacts.
Catering companies are also asked to promote the use of serving chopsticks, which are still not common in many smaller eateries.
Restaurants, among others, have borne the brunt of the epidemic's economic fallout as many Chinese follow the official instructions to stay indoors and avoid gatherings. In response, many outlets have beefed up disinfection or focused on online take-out services.
The Chinese mainland has seen single-digit daily increases of indigenous COVID-19 infections for four days. Still, big cities like Beijing and Shanghai are on high alert for the increasing numbers of imported cases from abroad.