Learn More

We hope you find all the information here useful. It is free to use and pass on to others as long as it is not changed and credit is given to Berger Food Safety Consulting. Feel free to to contact us if you need help implementing new COVID-19 practices to your business.

All About Covid-19

Updated: 10/23/2020

FAQ

What do I do if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19?
Employees who are diagnosed with or test positive for COVID-19 must disclose this information to their employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing. If the employer is notified of any positive case at the workplace, the employer must immediately notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located. Employers must assist the LBOH with contact tracing efforts, including advising likely contacts to self-quarantine. Employers must notify workers that they may not work if they test positive for COVID-19 (they should be isolated at home) or are found to be a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (they should be quarantined at home).
“What is a close contact?”

A “close contact” is defined as a person who has been within 6 feet of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 for more than 15 cumulative minutes while the infected individual is contagious.

A person diagnosed with COVID-19 is considered contagious 2 days before the onset of symptoms until 10 days after the onset of symptoms. If the diagnosed person does not have any symptoms, they are considered contagious 2 days before the positive test until 10 days after the positive test.

For example if you find out employee A was diagnosed with COVID-19 today, and Employee B spent less then 15 minutes in any 24 hour period with them over the last 2 days, Employee B is not a close contact. If Employee B spent 10 minutes one morning and 10 minutes that afternoon with Employee A then they are a close contact.

“What should I do if my employee has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19?”

First, you must determine if the employee is a "close contact" of the infected person. (See rules above.)

If they are indeed a close contact, they must be quarantined for 14 days. No if's and's or but's about it. They should monitor their condition during this time. Testing may or may not be a required by the health department even though the CDC does not recommend testing in this situation.

"What should I do if my employee is contact of a “close contact” with COVID-19?”

A contact of a “close contact” does not have any strict recommendations. They don’t need to be quarantined for 14 days, but should be alert for symptoms (watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath or unexplained loss of smell or taste) 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.

“When can an employee return to work?”
Infected Employees

The general rule is an employee can return to work when:
At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or the diagnosis was made; AND
At least 24 hours has passed without fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications; AND
All COVID-19 symptoms have disappeared or improved dramatically.

Close Contact Employees Without a Diagnosis

Employees that were previously quarantined as a close contact may return to work after they have completed their 14 day quarantine AND
they have no symptoms of COVID-19.

What about testing?

Testing for restaurant employees is not very useful in most cases as it only provides a snapshot in time. For example, someone could have negative results today buy positive results tomorrow.

Here is a common scenario: you were informed that Employee A has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and Employee B was working with him all day yesterday and is now considered a close contact and should be quarantined for 14 days.

Why don't we just test Employee B and see if he is infected? This sounds like a perfect solution. The problem is that a negative test today only means that the test did not show the disease today. It does not mean the disease is not developing in Employee B based on the recent exposure with Employee A. To further complicate the problem most tests will give a significant percentage of false negative results.

There is no firm data on how long after an exposure will result in a positive test. It may be hours or days in some cases. The final word is that testing is not the answer for close contacts coming back to work

We all know a certain president that was tested daily and one day it is positive. He was certainly exposed in the days before that test and produced negative tests

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

QUARANTINE keeps someone who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 away from others.

ISOLATION keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms away from others, even in their own home.

"How can I deliver food safely?"

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..

DURING DELIVERY:

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..

AFTER DELIVERY:.

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..

Download the pdf version.

What do I need to do to protect take-out orders?

GETTING READY:

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.

AFTER PICKUP:

1. Clean and disinfect any commonly touched areas in the pick-up process including the door handles.

REMINDERS:

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.

Download the pdf version. (You must register and log in to use this feature)

"Should I have my employees sign an illness reporting agreement?
Short answer: Absolutely Long Answer: The only way you can protect your staff and customers from infection is to make sure they report or even better stay home if any symptoms are present before it is too late.

Here is one that should work for you: Download the pdf version.

"What are the Massachusetts Specific Requirements for reopening a restaurant?"

On October 1st, 2020, Massachusetts updated the “SECTOR SPECIFIC WORKPLACE SAFETY STANDARDS FOR RESTAURANTS TO ADDRESS COVID-19”. The guidelines may be found at : https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-checklist-restaurants The specific requirements are outlined in detail in this document.