Each of the intervention strategies listed below require critical planning, communication and flexibility to guarantee effective response. To achieve maximum benefit, develop and implement a plan to promote beneficial personal protective measures, environmental protective measures and community distancing measures. For more information on constructing a crisis team and enacting protocols, download the FMI Crisis Communications Guide.

Identify and Contact Local Health and Agriculture Officials
  • Establish Communication Channel with Primary Contact – During times of crisis, inspectors from your local health department or local agriculture department should be the primary contact for food establishments.
    • Primary contact will vary depending on local jurisdiction.
  • Identify Supplemental Contacts – If your team is unable to immediately reach the primary contact, develop a plan to contact a supplemental official from your local jurisdiction.
    • The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) hosts a Directory of State and Local Officials to ensure food establishments can find and communicate with their local or state health officials in crisis events.
    • The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) hosts a Directory of Local Health Departments to find and contact local health departments in crisis events.
Develop an Infectious Disease Prevention Strategy
Resource: CDC Guidance for Business
  • Protective Measures – Preventive actions can be taken every day to slow the spread of respiratory viruses (CDC, 2017). Examples include:
    • Stay home when ill – Employee health policies should be re-examined and updated to ensure ill food workers are excluded from working in a food establishment. Allow for flexibility with work conditions in order to encourage employees with symptoms, as well as family members/caregivers with symptoms, to stay at home.
      • Per CDC guidelines, employers should not require a doctor’s note to return to work because doing so will burden the medical system.
        • Before granting permission to return to work, food handlers and managers suspected of illness should be symptom free.
    • Practice hand hygiene – Ensure all employees wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Promote respiratory etiquette – Recommend that all employs cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into a shirt sleeve.
      • Dispose the tissues and disinfect hands immediately after a cough or sneeze.
      • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth to help slow the spread of germs.

Environmental Protective Measures – Since some viruses can survive on surfaces for several days, the implementation of frequent and thorough cleaning and sanitization measures can help eliminate viruses from frequently touched surfaces and objects.

  • Utilize effective cleaning and sanitation supplies – Effective sanitation programs ensure all detergent-based cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants are used consistently and in accordance to label instructions.
    Clean up kit should include:
    • Instructions for employees to follow to properly cleaning and sanitation procedures.
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including two sets of gloves, masks and gowns, to clean up bodily fluids and contaminated areas.
    • Paper towels and cleaning tools needed for effective cleanup.
    • Chemicals needed for cleanup, including absorbent materials to contain bodily fluids, and a disinfectant that is effective against viruses.
    • Tape, signage or some other means for blocking off affected area.
    • Impervious bag for employees to discard PPE after use and used cleanup supplies.
    • Waste should be disposed in appropriate biohazard waste container.
    • Secure trash container to manage and dispose waste safely. 
    Community Distancing Measures
    • Per CDC: “Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies.”
      • Employers should frequently check CDC Travelers' Health Notices to advise employees on taking precautions when traveling. For more information, visit https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.