The Environmental Health Department, in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, has developed a framework geared towards ensuring the safe management of food service establishments (FSEs), during the COVID-19 crisis.
Designed to work in conjunction with the food hygiene regulations of the Health Services Act Cap 44, the framework consists of several short-term strategies, focusing on the critical areas of employee health and practices, the supply chain and the facility.
The goal is to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, and the department will monitor, review and strengthen the health and safety policies of these establishments, in the areas of personal hygiene (including hand washing and respiratory hygiene), food hygiene, cleaning of environmental services, use of standard precautions relating to infection prevention and control.
Some FSEs have resumed operations with adjustments to their menus and on-site offerings. These include the discontinuation of self-serve prepared food counters and in-house dining, and only offering delivery, takeaway or drive-through services.
The guidelines listed below pertain to the management of these facilities and the handling of supplies.
Food Service Establishment Facilities:
- All surfaces shall be cleaned and sanitized at the beginning and end of each workday. Additional cleaning and sanitizing of all surfaces should be done as required during the process of food preparation.
- Surfaces shall include high contact and food contact surfaces, doorknobs, handrails and telephones etc.
- Posters displaying handwashing guidelines shall be placed in key areas, e.g. the kitchen, bathroom, etc.
- Sanitizing and hand rub dispensers shall be placed within the workspace.
- All suppliers of food, cutlery, or any other provision to a food establishment shall wear masks at the point of delivery.
- Employees receiving items are also required to wear masks.
- Persons receiving items shall wash hands immediately after receipt of goods.
- Delivery personnel shall wash or sanitize hands before and after every delivery.
The Environmental Health Department has also encouraged employers to conduct risk assessments to determine the risk of exposure and eliminate them, where possible.
In the event that this is not feasible, administrative controls, such as social distancing should be employed, and where these are not possible, personal protective equipment must be provided and worn.
Those who may need assistance in implementing these protocols have been advised to contact the Environmental Health Department of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.