Home > News

New occupancy limits for local businesses due to COVID-19

Posted March 16, 2020

Archived Content Information and links provided may no longer be accurate.

Across the entire country, cities are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Like every major city, the City of Fort Worth is acting to limit the community spread of COVID-19 while also listening closely to local businesses who are attempting to adapt during this difficult time.

The Fort Worth community has adhered to the recently implemented social distancing measures, and we, thankfully, have not yet had community spread of COVID-19 in Fort Worth. However, there continues to be community spread of COVID-19 throughout North Texas and the rest of the country, and the City of Fort Worth is taking additional steps to minimize the risk to our community.

Starting at midnight tonight, the City of Fort Worth is enacting a mandatory reduction in the occupancy limits of local businesses, reducing current allowed occupancy by 50%, or no more than 125 individuals, whichever is less. These occupancy limits apply to the following locations: restaurants, bars, event centers, gyms, hotel restaurants, retail stores, theatres, convenience stores, public buildings, plazas, churches and shopping malls. We are currently excluding grocery stores from these mandatory reductions, and we are asking our grocery businesses to implement social distancing with customers to the greatest extent possible.

Previously, the City of Fort Worth issued a social distancing protocol for all public events and gatherings limiting participants to 250 – we are reducing this to 125 or less.

These new social distancing protocols do not apply to private businesses with day to day business operations with limited public assembly. If you are not included in the list of specific places of business then you are likely considered a private business. We encourage all places of business to follow CDC and OSHA guidelines.

We realize these decisions are painful for business operations, but we believe this solution will allow for small businesses to remain open in light of a rapidly changing situation. However, if our bars and restaurants do not comply or COVID-19 is not contained, further action may be required to meet public health requirements.

For example, if a business is allowed 160 individuals, then 80 individuals would be the maximum capacity, including their employees. However, if a business may have 600 individuals, they would now be limited to no more than 125 individuals to comply with the Emergency Declaration. Businesses can refer to their Certificate of Occupancy to determine their current occupancy limits.

For businesses like restaurants and bars, the following are specific recommendations that can be enacted:

  • Strongly encourage take-out and curbside pick-up
  • Remove every other chair at the bar to implement an adequate distance
  • If continuing sit-down dining, seat the customers at every other table in a checkerboard pattern
  • Have your staff keep count of the customers at each table to ensure an accurate count

The City of Fort Worth’s Fire Department stands ready to enforce occupancy limits, and we are asking businesses to be diligent in their enforcement and mindful of the public health implications.

Once again, we urge the public to avoid public places when possible and to stay home, limiting public contact. We will continue to work on resources to support our community during this unprecedented time.

Find up-to-date information on the ever-changing COVID-19 situation on the city’s COVID-19 information page.

Get articles like this in your inbox. Subscribe to City News.

City News

Calendar

QuickBooks Online Version Series: Part 1 of 6: 9 a.m. July 13, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

QuickBooks Online Version Series: Part 2 of 6: 2 p.m. July 13, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission Public Hearing: 2 p.m. July 13, 2020; WebEx.
View the agenda »
Register for this event »

City of Fort Worth Art Commission Special Called Meeting: 5 p.m. July 13, 2020; WebEx.
View the agenda »
Register for this event »

After the Pandemic: How to Buy and Sell a Business: 6 p.m. July 13, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

10 Steps to Build Your Brand on Instagram : 12:30 p.m. July 14, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. July 14, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Plant Combos and Companions: 6 p.m. July 14, 2020; Online Event.
Register for this event »

Certification Training for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises: 6 p.m. July 14, 2020; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway.
Register for this event »

Canceled City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. July 14, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

QuickBooks Online Version Series: Part 3 of 6: 9 a.m. July 15, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

5 Key Actions to Growing Your Sales : 9 a.m. July 15, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

Commercial and Residential Boards of Adjustment Public Hearing: 10 a.m. July 15, 2020; WebEx.
View the agenda »
Register for this event »

Emergency Physicians Advisory Board: 1 p.m. July 15, 2020; Virtual.
View the agenda »

QuickBooks Online Version Series: Part 4 of 6: 2 p.m. July 15, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

Neighborhood Services Public Hearing: 5:30 p.m. July 15, 2020; WebEx video conference.
Register for this event »

Public Hearing Regarding the 2020-2021 Annual Action Plan: 5:30 p.m. July 15, 2020; WebEx.
View the agenda »
Register for this event »

Crime-Free Multi-Housing Workshop (Refresher): 9 a.m. July 16, 2020; East Division Head-Quarters, 1100 Nashville.

Urban Design Commission Public Hearing: 10 a.m. July 16, 2020; WebEx.
View the agenda »
Register for this event »

Prototyping to Prove Your Product: 1:30 p.m. July 16, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

What You Should Know for Pricing in Today’s Economy: 6 p.m. July 16, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

QuickBooks Online Version Series: Part 5 of 6: 9 a.m. July 17, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

QuickBooks Online Version Series: Part 6 of 6: 2 p.m. July 17, 2020; Online.
Register for this event »

View the full city calendar and current meetings.