COVID-19 training opportunity for food businesses and other important updates

food digest

October 16, 2020

In this issue

COVID-19 in-service training for food businesses October 21st

This year has left us all facing new challenges. We understand the confusion and have experienced it as we try to navigate through the requirements put in place by the COVID-19 Executive Orders. That is why Hennepin County Environmental Health would like to invite you to join us for our first ever COVID-19 In-Service Training for Food Businesses via Microsoft Teams Live on October 21st!

The COVID-19 In-Service Trainings for Food Businesses are virtual educational events to learn and ask questions related to COVID-19 requirements, along with an opportunity for you and others to share what has and has not worked for you and your business during this difficult time. Topics will be the same at both sessions.

This event will also provide 1 hour of Continuing Education (CEU) for Certified Food Protection Mangers (CFPMs). If you are attending for CEU’s, please complete the pre-survey.

There will be a morning and afternoon option available to attend. The agenda will be the same for both. Please use the links below to access the event the day of.

Wednesday October 21st


Meeting Link


Meeting Link


  • What to do when an employee tests positive with COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
  • Executive Order 20-81 requirements - masks & shields
  • Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting
  • COVID-19 Service Accommodations (food safety for delivery and pick-up and seasonal adaptations for the food industry)
  • What to Expect When You’re Inspected During COVID-19
  • Open Q and A – opportunity to send us your questions before the event or in the live chat feed!

Please complete the pre-survey if:

  • You are attending for CFPM CEUs
  • You would like captions in another language
  • You have questions you would like us to answer. You will be able to ask questions during the session.

This information can also be found on our website and Facebook page under "Events". 

Hope to see you on October 21st!

Attention restaurants and bars - scam alert

Be on the lookout for potential scammers targeting restaurants and bars claiming establishments owe a fine for masking violations.

What you should know

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has become aware that restaurants are receiving calls indicating that their businesses were part of a scheduled compliance check, and that they owe a fine for masking violations. In a recent incident, none of the state agencies involved in the ongoing enforcement efforts had conducted a compliance check in the area.

What you can do

To protect your business from this scam, be aware that MDH or local public health agencies will work with you over a series of inspections to gain compliance before a fine may become necessary. Inspectors are emphasizing education and awareness, and MDH will not issue a fine on an initial inspection.

If you or someone you know has incurred financial loss due to a scam or fraud, please contact your local law enforcement.

If you have concerns or believe you are a victim of a scam, contact the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison by calling 1-800-657-3787, or submit a Consumer Assistance Request Form or Fraud Report Form.

Updates to restaurant party size limits and celebrations guidance

On October 8, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released updated guidance documents. The following is a message from MDH:

We all have a role to play in protecting our fellow Minnesotans and ourselves from COVID-19. By following current Executive Orders from Governor Walz and guidance on Stay Safe Minnesota, everyone can enjoy activities and events while supporting public health, slowing the spread of COVID-19, and minimizing added strain on local communities and health care systems in Minnesota.

Guidance recently updated

Industry Guidance for Safely Reopening Restaurants and Bars updates include the following changes related to party size:

  • Limit party size in dining rooms to 10 people.
  • Limit party size at bar rail/counter to 4 people.
  • Require patrons in all areas to be seated. Bar and restaurants that are open for regular food and beverage service must not allow customers to dance.

Guidance for Safe Celebrations and Events updates clarify the current requirements and includes:

  • Dancing is not recommended at events and celebrations.
  • Require everyone to wear face coverings while dancing, if the event includes dancing.
  • Require social distancing between people from different households while dancing.

Review and follow the updated guidance

Review and follow the new requirements for party size in the Industry Guidance for Safely Reopening Restaurants and Bars.

Bar and restaurants that are open for regular food and beverage service may not allow customers to dance.

Bars and restaurants that host events and celebrations must follow the recommendations for dancing found in the Guidance for Safe Celebrations and Events. Only consider an in-person celebration or event if planners and participants can commit to social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet of space between people from different households at all times and wearing face coverings throughout the celebration or event. The guidance now clarifies that everyone must wear a face covering while dancing.

Welcome new health inspector Leah Larson!


Leah received her Bachelor of Science degree in geography from the University of Minnesota and hopes to return soon to pursue a master’s in environmental health. Leah's county relationship started in May 2019 when she worked as a Community Health Intern conducting swimming pool inspections, collecting beach samples, and assisting with waterborne illness outbreaks. Leah enjoys reading, spending time with her family, exploring, hiking, walking her dogs, and doing anything in, or on, the water.

Welcome new health inspector Will Alken!


Will received his bachelor’s degree in ecology from St. Cloud State and recently graduated with a Master of Public Health degree from Benedictine University.

Prior to joining Hennepin County, Will worked at the St. Cloud Hospital and as an intern for Brooklyn Park’s Environmental Health Department. Will enjoys the outdoors, everything fitness, and board games.

Web resources

Visit for information on:

  • General environmental health 
  • Basic food safety classes 
  • Temporary food stand licensing 
  • Food license information, categories, and fee schedule 
  • New construction or remodeling application 

Radon information and test kits 

Septic system requirements and procedures

Body art licensing information (tattooing and piercing) 

Beaches in Hennepin County

Public swimming pool regulations

About us

Food Digest is a quarterly newsletter written by inspectors from Hennepin
County Public Health Department and is designed to support and educate Hennepin County food facility owners and operators. Articles focus on food
safety and requirements from the Minnesota Food Code and Hennepin County food ordinance.


1011 First Street S, Suite 215
Hopkins, MN 55343-9413

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Past issues

Previous issues of Food digest available in our archive.

Food digest feedback

Hannah Marschinke


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