Published 21 March 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take hold, many food businesses are switching to a delivery or take-out model. Not only does food need to be protected against the usual food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella and Norovirus, both the food and take-out/delivery packaging need to be protected from SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Have two separate teams that never work together. That way, if one of your team members falls ill, their teammates should go into self-isolation and your business still has another fully functioning team to continue operations.
Seal the bags that hold food containers to ensure that containers can’t be contaminated by the delivery person. And be sure to spray sanitize delivery bags and boxes before each delivery even if the food is being delivered by a third-party provider such as Uber Eats or Foodora.
Consider which employees in your business need PPE during this time. Any front-of-house staff dealing with customers may need to be provided with masks and gloves. Back-of-house staff and delivery drivers may also need to be provided with additional PPE items both for their own safety and the safety of customers. If you’re enforcing the use of PPE, communicate this clearly to your team as there is often a reluctance to wear these items unless strictly enforced.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can live on objects and surfaces for up to 9 days. As well as your regular cleaning and sanitizing, it is important to identify high contact items and objects in high traffic areas that need to be cleaned and sanitized. Example items in food businesses include credit card machines, menus and soap dispensers. Don’t be afraid of sanitizing too often — some big chains are sanitizing high traffic areas every 8 minutes during the COVID-19 crisis.
Cash and credit cards can harbor pathogens that can get passed onto food workers and other objects. During the COVID-19 pandemic, consider whether it’s possible to only accept online or payWave payments in order to minimize contact. If that’s not possible, make a plan to sanitize your credit card machines regularly as well as any notes or coins that you receive.
If you can get access to hand sanitizer, it’s a good idea to provide this to both delivery drivers and customers when they visit your business. That sends a message that you take their health and safety seriously, and of course it also stops the potential spread of coronavirus at the food premises.