September 28
We continue to celebrate 30 years of food safety from ServSafe with 30 tips to help you manage risk in your restaurant. We have our final six tips for you, this week focused on COVID-19 safety procedures.

COVID-19 Procedures to Follow

COVID-19 has, unfortunately, created a lot of uncertainty in the world—especially regarding food, dining out, and even ordering take-out from restaurants. It is always important to follow the highest standards in food safety as guests will be on the lookout to dine at restaurants that are following safety precautions and being extra careful when it comes to preparing food and keeping a clean kitchen. Here are six tips to help reassure guests.
Tip 1: Practice Social Distancing:
  • Help educate employees and customers on the importance of social distancing through:
    • Signs
    • Audio messages
    • Consider using every other check-out lane to aid in distancing
  • For quick-service restaurants, avoid displays that may result in customer gatherings; review our guidance for buffets if you serve cafeteria-style; discourage employee gatherings
  • Place floor markings and signs to encourage social distancing
  • Set up designated food take-out areas inside or outside the establishment
Tip 2: Optimize your Takeout and Delivery Processes:
  • Encourage customers to use “no-touch” deliveries
  • Notify customers as the delivery is arriving by text message or phone call
  • Establish designated takeout zones for customers
  • Offer curbside pick-up
  • Practice social distancing by offering to place orders in customer vehicles for them
  • If offering delivery options:
    • Ensure coolers and transport containers are cleaned and sanitized
    • Maintain time and temperature controls
    • Avoid cross-contamination; for example, wrap food during transportation
Tip 3: Train Employees on Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Procedures:
  • Train employees on cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting procedures, and protective measures, per CDC and FDA
  • Have and use cleaning products and supplies using EPA-approved solvents
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces frequently
  • Ensure food containers and utensils are cleaned and sanitized
  • Prepare and use sanitizers according to label instructions
  • Offer sanitizers and wipes to customers or utilize store personnel to conduct cleaning/sanitizing
Tip 4: Understand How to Handle Employee and Customer Illness:
  • Employees - Stay home or leave work if sick; consult a doctor if sick, and contact supervisor
  • Employers - Instruct sick employees to stay home and send home immediately if sick
  • Employers – Instruct employees exposed to COVID-19 to stay home and quarantine. If you decide to establish a prescreening policy, consider contacting your insurance carrier for suggestions, and retain a contract nurse for the task. Alternatively, perform the task with an employee in a supervisory capacity who will maintain the confidentiality of the results to the maximum extent possible
Tip 5: Wash Hands for at least 20 seconds:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not available, use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer per CDC
  • Never touch Ready-to-Eat foods with bare hands
  • Use single service gloves or suitable utensils
Tip 6: Encourage Use of Face Coverings:
  • Per CDC recommendations, face coverings have been shown to be effective tools to mitigate risk from individuals who show symptoms as well as those who don’t, especially in close environments where it’s hard for people to maintain a three- to six-foot distance. In some states and local jurisdictions, face coverings are required by government officials; some employers require them, too. In all cases, those coverings worn by employees should be kept clean in accordance with CDC guidance. CDC provides overall cleaning guidance here
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

COVID-19 Safety Procedure Tips:

  1. Social distance
  2. Optimize delivery and takeout
  3. Train employees on cleaning and sanitation practices
  4. Understand employee sicknesses
  5. Wash hands
  6. Encourage the use of face-coverings
To extend your Food Safety Month experience, visit our resources page to download posters, activity sheets, and more!