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Coronavirus COVID-19 Guidance for food facilities


En español


COVID-19 is part of a class of coronaviruses that cause respiratory illness and is spread through the air via respiratory droplets from an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms of the virus include: fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.

Prevention at Food Distribution Sites

All requirements related to food safety such as temperatures and food handling are applicable to food distribution sites.

  • Food should be prepared and packaged off-site or in a controlled location away from the public.
  • Distribution of unpackaged food should be avoided.
  • Whole produce should be protected from contamination and not presented in large open displays.
  • Once food has been distributed, do not allow customers to return food items for redistribution.
  • Provide hand washing stations and/or hand sanitizer at food distribution sites.
  • At this time, do not accept reusable utensils from customers (food containers, cups, etc.).

Prevention – Hand Washing

Remind employees/volunteers to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Hands should be washed:

  • When entering the distribution site
  • Before handling any food items
  • After touching your face, hair, or other areas of the body
  • After using the restroom
  • After coughing, sneezing, using a tissue, smoking, eating or drinking
  • Before putting gloves on
  • After cleaning any items that customers may have touched
  • After engaging in other activities that may contaminate the hands


  • Hand sanitizer is recommended and should be used after washing hands
  • Assign an employee/volunteer to keep soap and paper towels stocked at hand wash stations.
  • Minimize touching your phone or other personal items
  • Provide extra garbage cans near restrooms and exits
  • Garbage cans should be uncovered or accessible with a hands-free cover
  • Post additional visible signage for customers to wash their hands frequently

Prevention – Sanitizing Equipment and the Facility

Chlorine (bleach)-based sanitizer over 100ppm (parts per million) or quaternary ammonium-based sanitizers over 200ppm are effective at killing viruses. Use test strips to ensure that sanitizer is at the required concentration. Sanitize tables, chairs, service counters, equipment, utensils, and any other areas exposed to customers routinely throughout the day.


COVID-19 can last for hours to days on surfaces.  Increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing all high-touch areas such as:

  • Door knobs, touch screens, tables, faucet handles, and cabinet/drawer pulls
  • Vehicle seats, steering wheels, and frequently touched surfaces between use
  • Other frequently touched surfaces

Employee Health

Any employees/volunteers who is ill and experiencing any fever and/or respiratory symptoms should stay home from work until they are symptom free plus an additional 24 hours to prevent the spread of any virus. Do not allow sick employees/volunteers to participate in food distribution activities.

Minimize Crowding

To the extent possible, practice social distancing by interacting with one customer at a time.  Develop a procedure to facilitate an orderly line of customer service. Monitor the line to assure that customer needs are being met. Limit person-to-person physical contact to the extent practical.

Social Distancing Protocol for Food Facility Compliance requirements with Health Order C19-05

Social Distance Protocol for Food Facilities(PDF: 190 kB)

Social Distance Protocol Appendix A fillable form (PDF: 405 kB)

Social Distance Protocol Sign (PDF: 422 kB)

Additional Information

The information and requirements pertaining to COVID-19 may change as more is learned about this virus and its transmission. Additional Information, status reports, and website links can be accessed on the SoCo Emergency webpage:

Other Resources