With the cooler fall months here, Canadians have been warned about the strong possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 in the country. Some provinces are already seeing a second wave, such as Ontario and Quebec, and restrictions are being reinstated to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In certain areas, this has meant the reclosure of many food businesses for indoor dining, and a move back to outdoor dining and take-out/delivery services only. This is difficult for many food businesses to navigate, especially after suffering significant financial losses due to shutdowns during the first wave.
For other provinces and territories, there is no second wave yet, but food businesses are wary of the possibility of reinstated restrictions and another shutdown. Here is what the food businesses can do in order to navigate these tough times whether they are currently in the second wave of COVID-19 or preparing for one.
Preventing the spread of COVID-19
Whether you are a food business that is operating within a second wave or not, it is important to remember how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is key to keeping staff safe within the premises as well as customers who may be dining indoors, outdoors or simply picking up a take-out order. If your food business isn’t currently affected by a second wave, doing these things can help keep the cases in your area low and prevent a second wave.
Know the facts and symptoms of COVID-19
Everyone who works in a food business must understand the severity of COVID-19 and the concerns around its spread. Now that months have passed during the pandemic, it is common for people to become complacent or forget the facts about COVID-19. Share this CIFS COVID-19 Fact Sheet with all staff at your food business to ensure they understand the facts about COVID-19 and its severity.
It is also important that everyone in the food business understands the symptoms of COVID-19. Staff must also know what to do should they fall ill at work or home, or if they have come into contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Click here for the CIFS COVID-19 Symptoms Alert Poster that you can put up in your food business to remind staff of COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if they fall ill.
Clean and sanitize
Cleaning and sanitizing are one of the most important things food businesses can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Whether you are open for business or operating within restrictions at this time, keeping up on cleaning and sanitizing protocols is key.
Read our blog on cleaning and sanitizing to prevent COVID-19, or check out the CIFS Guide to Effective Cleaning & Sanitizing for more information.
Remember hand hygiene
Following hand hygiene protocols is a top priority for food businesses. Everyone who works in your food business (not just those who directly handle food) must wash their hands frequently and properly with warm water and soap. It has been proven that proper hand hygiene is essential is reducing the spread of COVID-19. Download the CIFS Hand Washing Poster and display it anywhere that staff members wash their hands to keep hand hygiene top-of-mind.
Keep using personal protective equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. As time goes on, it may be tempting to ease up on the use of PPE or not be as strict with enforcement. This can cause case numbers to go up and puts everyone at risk. Ensure that everyone in the food business is wearing proper PPE — not only for safety but to comply with COVID-19 regulations as well.
Share this CIFS PPE Fact Sheet with everyone in the food business so they understand the importance of PPE, how to wear them and how to dispose of them properly.
Enforce physical distancing
Physical distancing has been an important part of food businesses since reopening earlier this year. Ensure your food business is continuing to enforce physical distancing among customers and staff as much as possible.
Read our blog on physical distancing in food businesses for more information on implementation in your specific food business.
Conduct contact tracing properly
Contact tracing has been helpful in identifying the source of COVID-19 outbreaks as well as informing customers of potential exposure. This continues to be important, especially as the threat of a second wave looms in many provinces and territories. Be sure you are conducting contact tracing correctly by using the CIFS Contact Tracing in Your Food Business Fact Sheet.
Preparing for another shutdown
This year has demanded extreme flexibility from food businesses in order to adapt to the ever-changing pandemic. Some food businesses are seeing case numbers creeping up and see the potential for another shutdown on the horizon. The best thing to do in this case is to be prepared. Preparation is a significant way that food businesses can navigate and survive another shutdown due to a second wave.
One way to be prepared is to use the CIFS COVID-19 Pre-closure Checklist. Use this checklist to ensure you are fully prepared if your business is ordered to close down by the government due to a second wave.
For businesses already in the second wave of COVID-19
Food businesses that are already operating during the second wave of COVID-19 are dealing with a wide range of challenges. There are worries, frustrations and financial losses that food business owners and staff members have to deal with during another shutdown. Combining this with concerns about contracting COVID-19 means that there is a lot of stress and uncertainty in this situation. The best thing for food businesses during this time is to try and remain positive and take action on what they can control.
One of the main things food businesses can do is to ensure they are able to conduct take-out and delivery orders safely. Read our blog on the guidelines for food deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure your business is following best practices.
Another thing food businesses can do during this time is to prepare their reopening plan. This can help put the current situation into perspective by preparing for an eventual reopening. Revisiting what you will need to do when you reopen is a great way to prepare for the future while operating during a second-wave shutdown.
Check out the CIFS COVID-19 Reopening Guide to get your food business ready for when your doors open again.