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COVID-19

Friday Round-up (5/15/20): Reopening Guidelines Emerge from Regulators and Large Brands


Every week FoodLogiQ will be aggregating the latest updates and resources for food businesses navigating the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Learn how the industry is adapting to protect and feed consumers while building resilience in the face of global crisis.

As more foodservice establishments begin to open and grocery stores extend their hours of operation, the industry is honing in on important risk mitigation procedures and strategies to improve safety across food businesses. While recommendations vary depending on the type of business and location, food companies of all stripes are being advised to pay attention to in-location distancing and sanitization policies in order to continue addressing health concerns, as well as to foster an atmosphere where people feel safe.

This week McDonalds released a 59 page document to franchisee operators detailing the minimum required procedures locations must adopt, according to CNN. Cleaning and sanitization are required across numerous surfaces—such as tables and kiosks—between each customer. The document covers operational procedures in addition to outlining how employees ought to respond to potential questions surrounding the reopening, or how to mediate customer safety transgressions.

The CDC has also released new guidance around reopening service establishments like bars, restaurants and workplaces. The guidance covers both health considerations and tools, as well as resources for planning, prevention and responding. According to Bloomberg, some feel that the guidelines, which were a collaboration between the coronavirus taskforce and the CDC, help standardize nation-wide health and safety procedures, but ought to have been released earlier. Companies like 86 Repairs have published their own substantive checklist for reopening restaurants.

The FDA also released a new guideline for reopening retail businesses this week. With the goal of providing safety for both employees and customers, and to help stop the spread of  COVID-19, the resource includes a five-category checklist that shares best practices on safety measures that retailers should follow: 

  • Be Healthy, Be Clean: Employees are encouraged to stay home when sick, or if they have a fever or cough. When at work they should wash hands often and not touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands. Food containers should be wrapped to prevent cross-contamination and workers should always follow the four keys to safer food: clean, separate, cook, and chill. It’s also important to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or face coverings.
  • Clean and Disinfect: High touch surfaces like doorknobs, check-out-counters, and grocery carts should be cleaned and disinfected often. Ice bins that contain food should also be thoroughly sanitized. Single-serve condiments and utensils should be used if possible.
  • Social Distance: Ensure people are maintaining 6-foot separation in checkout lines and other high-traffic areas; retailers should consider floor tape to mark distance, adding partitions at checkout or even creating one-way traffic flow on aisles. Many stores have already begun to limited the numbers of guests allowed in the store at once, and have created senior-only shopping hours.
  • Pick-up and Delivery: Instilling a ‘no-touch’ payment system, pick-up zones and working with customers to agree on a designated delivery spot can make it easier and safer for all. Businesses should ensure they are maintaining industry standards related to food temperatures.
  • Physical Facility: Everything should be in good working order before reopening, and businesses should maintain pest control. It’s also important to clean, disinfect, and sanitize throughout the day. Businesses should check-in with local health officials to be sure you are following any other state/local regulations.

As the pandemic continues on, many retailers are still employing aggressive measures to minimize virus transmission. Winsight reported that, “According to Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, 85% of its grocery store member workers reported that customers are not practicing social distancing in stores.” This may be part of the reason some retailers are exploring a new “Dark Supermarket” model, where there is no public entry, only pick-up and delivery. Brands are encouraged to work with local officials and consult emerging guidelines for any shifting operational procedures.

Resources

Please view FoodLogiQ's COVID-19 Food Industry Resource Center for industry-specific updates, resources and information.

If your business is in need of operational guidance for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, download our E-Book to learn how FoodLogiQ Customers are minimizing risks. And don’t miss our upcoming webinar on how to build stronger relationships with your supply chain partners; Register for the webinar, Strengthening Your Supplier Relationships in the New Normal.  

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Posted by Julie Brown on May 15, 2020 5:29:04 PM