Food Safety Magazine

News | May 18, 2020

Guidance and Best Practices for Restaurants Operating Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

By Staff

Guidance and Best Practices for Restaurants Operating Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for the reopening of certain businesses, including restaurants, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance, based on President Donald Trump’s "Opening Up America Again" plan, places much focus on cleaning and disinfection practices.

The framework is based on businesses following these guidelines:

  1. Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
  2. Disinfection using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 can also help reduce the risk. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.
  3. When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children. Read EPA’s infographic on how to use these disinfectant products safely and effectively.

CDC says that cleaning and disinfecting public spaces will require businesses to:

  1. Develop a plan
  2. Implement that plan
  3. Maintain and revise that plan

For further direction specifically for restaurants, CDC directs attention to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This guidance explains how the food industry should handle managing employee health, personal hygiene for employees, managing operations in a foodservice establishment or retail food store, and managing food pick-up and delivery.

FDA’s guidance is available in seven foreign languages.

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