The world is dealing with the most significant public health crisis in the last 100 years.
As we move from mitigation to recovery, Public Health plays a critical element of getting Americans back to work as quickly and safely as possible.
Re-opening food service establishments safely and efficiently so they can re-hire their staff is the first step in the industry and nation’s economic recovery.
For the recovery to gain momentum, consumers must have trust and confidence that returning to their favorite food establishments is safe. Getting this wrong will have devastating consequences.
Anticipating the crush of food establishment re-openings, Relavent Systems has developed the COVID-19 Re-opening Action Plan (“RAP”) and the RAP Inspection to assist in the orderly re-opening process.
Re-opening Action Plan (RAP)
The RAP integrates COVID-19 mitigation directives with standard food safety procedures in an easy to understand and interactive method. RAP provides the information required to safely re-open food establishments, delivered via infographics, pictures and video tutorials.
The RAP Inspection enables the user to validate all of the elements in the RAP. The inspection can be used by a health department or a food establishment. Establishments have the option to send the inspection to their local health department upon completion.
As of the first week of April 2020, the CDC changed the recommendation for essential workers who may have been exposed to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. This was done to ensure essential functions (such as work provided by those individuals in the food and agricultural sectors) are not disrupted.
First, you need to determine with whom the person was exposed to and the amount of “exposure”. For example, if your employee is a “close contact” (see definition for close contact below) to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a person who is symptomatic for COVID-19, and they were in contact with that person during that persons contagious period, they should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:
• Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
• Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
• Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
• Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
• Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.
If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately. (Review the CDC Fact Sheet, “Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick” for precautions your employee must take to prevent the spread of this disease” with the sick employee.) Surfaces in their workspace should be cleaned and disinfected. Information on persons who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and 2 days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within 6 feet of the employee during this time would be considered exposed.
A contact of a “close contact” does not have these strict recommendations. They don’t need to be quarantined for 14 days, but should be alert for symptoms (watch for fever, cough or shortness of breath and take their temperature if symptoms develop), practice social distancing (maintain 6 ft. of distance and stay out of crowded places) and follow CDC guidelines if symptoms develop.
For example, Mark and Jessica worked at the pizza shop assembling pizza boxes on March 9th, the same day Jessica found out she was a close contact to a person with COVID-19 symptoms. Jessica will need to stay in quarantine until March 22nd based on her last exposure, while Mark only needs to be on alert for symptoms and report any symptoms of COVID-19 to his boss if they develop.
This is a little complicated. Here's the easy part - a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or a person with symptoms of COVID-19 is contagious 48 hours before they develop symptoms. Here’s the hard part – to determine how long a person will continue to be contagious depends on whether or not they can be tested for the coronavirus.
If laboratory testing is available (not everyone is able to get a test) there are three requirements they must meet before they can leave isolation and come back to work: one, they no longer have a fever without the use of medicine that reduces the fever; two, other symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath have improved; and three, they have two negative tests given 24 hours apart.
If they are not able to get laboratory testing, there are two requirements they must meet before they can leave isolation and come back to work: one, at least 72 hours have passed since they have recovered from COVID-19 (i.e. they no longer have a fever without the use of medicine that reduces the fever and other symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath has improved) AND it has been at least 7 days since the symptoms first appeared.
People who have had NO symptoms but tested positive for COVID-19 must be isolated just as those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
They may return to work when at least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness provided they remain asymptomatic.
Once they return to work they must maintain distancing (stay 6 feet away from others) and wear a facemask or cloth covering over their nose and mouth whenever they are in settings where other persons are present for 3 days.
PRIOR TO DELIVERY:.
1. Take full payment including tip online or over the phone.
2. Receive directions for where the customer would like their food placed. (i.e. on steps, by garage,front porch, in mailbox, etc.).
3. Explain to the customer this will be a CONTACT-FREE delivery.
4. For third-party food delivery, consider setting up a handwashing station for the drivers. A Cambro style coffee urn filled with hot water and nearby soap, paper towels and a container for waste. Water retention allow for handwashing. You may even want to provide hand sanitizers or have a sanitizing hand-dip station set up. All drivers should be provided with disposable gloves.
5. Prior to sending food away with driver make sure all foods are under temperature control. Cold food should be placed in separate containers from hot food to help maintain product temperatures.
6. Delivery drivers should have coolers or insulated bags that should be cleaned and disinfected every four hours.
7. The delivery vehicle should be cleaned and disinfected daily. This includes the steering wheel, shifters, radio controls and doorhandles – anything that hands touch.
1. Have delivery employees wear single-use gloves and change when contamination occurs.
2. The packaging MUST stay closed and intact. It may not be opened by anyone except for the person placing the order.
3. Have the driver confirm the customer that food has been delivered via text or phone call to the costumer. You may want your driver to wait in the car to assure food is picked up.
1. Apply hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content when available after a delivery and change gloves.
2. Disinfect delivery bags before picking up new orders.
1. Determine the best space for Pick-Up orders in your establishment. If your restaurant has a vestibule, that could work well. If not, set up an area near your front door.
2. Re-purpose shelving or similar to keep orders at least 6 inches off the ground for the new Pick-Up area.
3. Create a labeling system for orders.a. We recommend a bold sharpie or print out a label with the customer’s name and an order number and place the order where the information can be read from a distance.
PRIOR TO PICKUP:
1. Take full payment including tip online or over the phone.
2. Explain to the customer this will be a CONTACT-FREE Pick-Up and if there is anyone in line looking for an order to leave 6 ft. of space between everyone.
3. Ask your customer what their ETA is and let them know when you expect the food to be ready. Givethem an order number that will be visible on the Pick-Up order.
4. After washing hands with warm water (making sure to scrub for 20 seconds) the designated employee should don a pair of non-latex gloves, place the order in the Pick-Up area and then immediately washhands again. (If multiple orders are being placed in the Pick-Up area, gloves should be changed and hands washed every 15 minutes.) Gloves should be changed if they become torn or soiled.
5. Prior to placing food in the Pick-Up area make sure all foods are under temperature control: cold food should be placed in separate containers from hot food to help maintain product temperatures.
1. Clean and disinfect any commonly touched areas in the pick-up process including the door handles.
1. Keep your staff and customers safe by not having them interact face to face.
2.. Staff not currently scheduled to work should be denied entry to the establishment.
Here is an illness agreement that should work for you: Download the How to Deliver Food Safely sheet.
On May 29th, Massachusetts Published the “Safety Standard and Checklist: Restaurants”. The guidelines may be found at : https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-checklist-restaurants In addition to the guidance found in the COVID-19 Reopening Action Plan, Massachusetts requires the following:.
Until further notice, only outdoor dining will be allowed at the commencement of phase 2.
Restaurants may not seat customers at the bar. However, the bar area may be used for additional seating if the tables can be spaced allowing for the 6 ft. distancing.
Restaurants must establish directional hallways and pathways for foot traffic if possible with clear signage regarding direction.
Electronic pagers (buzzers) may not be provided for guests as a an alert their table is ready. Texting, video screens, or audio announcements must be used for this notification.
If the employer is notified of a COVID-19 positive case at the workplace, the employer should notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) where the workplace is located and work with them to trace likely contacts in the workplace and advise workers to isolate and self-quarantine.
Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s reopening guidelines.
Posters Required for Massachusetts' Businesses
The state of Massachusetts requires that all businesses have written control plans and self-certification that the plans are being followed. In addition, the following three posters must be posted in the work-site.
- Compliance attestation poster – Poster that customer facing businesses are required to print, sign, and post in an area within the business premises that is visible to workers and visitors (https://www.mass.gov/doc/compliance-attestation-poster-english/download)
- Employer and Worker posters – Posters that businesses can print and display within the business premises to describe the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, and cleaning and disinfecting. Employer: (https://www.mass.gov/doc/employer-reopening-poster-english/download). Worker: https://www.mass.gov/doc/worker-reopening-poster-english/download)
Make sure your PIC is overseeing the implementation for these reopening requirements.
In the event of a presumptive or actual positive COVID-19 case of a worker, patron, or vendor, the restaurant must be immediately shut down for 24 hours and then must be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with current CDC guidance before re-opening.
Employees that are high risk due to age or underlying conditions are encouraged to stay home or have an alternate work assignment.