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Preventing the spread of coronavirus in food service establishments

Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses and are generally spread through respiratory secretions (droplets from coughs and sneezes) of an infected person to another person.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and, in severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs). Information is still unclear about how easily this novel coronavirus spreads. More information on COVID-19 is available on the Centers for Disease Control website.

Take steps to keep your establishment safe:
  • Post handwashing signage. Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Monitor employee hygienic practices. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and face.
  • Provide access to alcohol-based hand rubs and gels between handwashing for employees and customers.
  • Determine the risk with recommendations to remove self-service: exposed, disposable, and reusable service ware and utensils accessible to the public present the highest risk. Examples include bulk containers or individual condiments, dispensing equipment, plasticware, tongs, cups, covers lids to avoid exposure of handling by multiple users. If self-service items cannot be removed, use individually dispensed utensil equipment and routinely clean and disinfect to reduce the risk.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect things that are high touch objects, and surfaces (like bathrooms, doorknobs, countertops, tables, electronics) with EPA registered disinfectants effective for coronavirus. COVID -19 virus can survive several days.
  • Have written procedures available for clean up after vomiting and diarrheal events.
  • Post and review the illness policy with employees. Monitor employees symptomatic with coughs, sneezes, diarrhea, vomiting, fever. Follow exclusion and restriction guidelines for food handlers with requirements to go home if ill.
  • Notify the regulatory authority as required of confirmed foodborne illness.
  • Promote tap and pay to limit the handling of cash.
  • Avoid overcrowded areas and ensure adequate ventilation.
  • Keep restrooms stocked with soap and paper towels or hand dryers.
  • Signage and training is available online.
  • Stay informed.
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