Personal and Workforce Health and Hygiene
Whether you are a farm, farm stand, farmers market, farm-to-table restaurant, or small grocer, we can all take part in the fight against COVID-19. According to the CDC, there is no evidence currently that COVID-19 is transmitted by food or food packaging. However, with a workforce harvesting produce, processing and preparing food, stocking markets, or interacting with customers, practicing good personal hygiene and social distancing is critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19. We understand that the food you produce must continue to be supplied to the consumer through various outlets, and this will require an adequate and healthy workforce.
- Know and inform your workers on how coronavirus is spread and the severity of the
virus. Symptoms can start between 2 and 14 days after contraction and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- If you or any employees feel ill, do not come into contact with food, food packing,
or food contact surfaces. Stay home or tell sick workers to stay home if they feel
ill or report any illness symptoms.
- Set an example and remind your employees to wash their hands frequently. Be sure that you and your employees are using soap, scrubbing their hands for at least 20 seconds, using single-use disposable towels to dry their hands, and are using a disposable towel to turn off the water faucet. Proper hand washing sign available here.
- Remember to avoid touching your face and train employees in this practice.
- Provide and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content after
proper handwashing. Remind employees that hand sanitizer does not replace hand washing.
- Clean and sanitize your tools, equipment, and facilities. Don’t forget: you cannot
sanitize a dirty surface. You must use a surfactant (soap) to clean the surface before
your sanitizer (bleach) is effective.
- Take special care in cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms, food contact surfaces, and
employee break areas. Anything that is frequently touched, such as doorknobs, faucets,
tools, equipment, and computers, should be regularly cleaned to help prevent the transmission
of the virus.
- If you or any workers show symptoms or have been around someone diagnosed with COVID-19, do not work or allow them to come to work. Restaurants and retail food establishments should follow the Arkansas Department of Health’s guidelines for retail food establishments.
- Establish a plan. What will you do if you or the majority of your workers become ill? Learn the steps to respond to being sick or having sick employees with suspected coronavirus with this resource from the Occupational Safety and Health Association.
- If you or any employee contract coronavirus, they should stay at home and follow CDC’s guidance. Do not work or allow employees to return to work until they have not had a fever for 3 days and 7 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
- With mandatory closure of restaurant dining rooms and voluntary closures of farmers markets and small food retail stands in Arkansas,
many local food providers are faced with new challenges. On-farm pick up, carry-out
for restaurants, drive-thru, and delivery services are still allowed. Consider serving
customers while complying with efforts for social distancing. Restaurants with alcohol
sales permits may sell unopened containers of beer and wine through carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery, as well.
- For 24/7 assistance with supply chain, delivery of goods, or business continuity issues, the FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center can be contacted at NBEOC@fema.dhs.gov.