PWDU-FSP Update March 11

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Partnership and Workforce Development – Food Safety Partnership Update

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March 11

Preparing for COVID-19 in your place of business

What can you do to prepare yourself?

As you continue to hear about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the news, stay connected to trusted sources. The Minnesota Department of Health, other state agencies, local public health, and community partners are working together to monitor the situation and prepare for cases and a potential outbreak.

At this time, our recommendations to prevent the spread of the illness are the same precautions you would take to avoid colds and flu.

Stay Informed

When joining the conversation with friends and family, visit the Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for up-to-date information, resources, and additional information.

Personal Health and Hygiene

  • Stay at home if you have fever, runny nose, cough, sneezing or other respiratory symptoms, or if you believe you are sick.
  • Ensure that handwashing facilities are readily available for employees and customers. Every sink needs warm running water, soap, and disposable towels.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Hand antiseptics are not a replacement for proper handwashing. If you provide hand antiseptics in customer areas, it should be an alcohol-based hand product with at least 60% alcohol active ingredient.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.


  • Clean routinely touched surfaces frequently. These include tables, doorknobs, light switches, faucets, point-of-sale systems, keyboards, telephones, condiment dispensers, salt shakers, beverage machines, buzzer-pagers, etc.
  • Consider using a cleaning product with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims. The American Chemistry Council maintains a list of these products: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)-Fighting Products (PDF) (
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (for example, concentration, application method, contact time, and use of personal protective equipment). Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the product including precautions you should take when applying the product.

Employee Illness

In Minnesota, employees are required to notify the person in charge (PIC) if they are experiencing symptoms of pathogens that could cause foodborne illness. Sore throat and fever are included in the list of symptoms that employees must report to the PIC: Illness Reporting for Food Establishments (PDF) ( An Employee Illness Log to record illnesses is available on the MDH website: Employee Illness Log (PDF) (

Emergency Action Plan for Food Businesses

Preparing for emergencies is a vital part of successful business operations. The Conference for Food Protection has developed a detailed guidance document to help retail grocery and food service establishments plan and respond to emergencies that could affect food safety and facility operations. The document does not specifically address COVID-19, but it does provide practical advice to help you plan for emergency situations.