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Publication #FSHN20-6

COVID-19 FAQ for Food Banks: Best Practices and Communication1

Natalie Seymour, Mary Yavelak, Candice Christian, and Ben Chapman2

Updated April 21, 2020

This flyer is best viewed as a PDF. It provides guidance regarding COVID-19 for food banks.

WHAT BEST PRACTICES SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Staff and volunteers should practice hand hygiene, use gloves when handling money, and handle and package items for customers if possible.

  • Consider increasing practicality of social distancing by staggering entry or only allowing small groups of people in at a time.

  • Cloth face coverings should be worn by employees and volunteers while working.

  • Limit the number of people at the farm at one time or space people out to prevent groups of ten or more. Provide markers on the ground to help customers maintain six feet of physical distance.

WHAT SHOULD BE COMMUNICATED TO CUSTOMERS?

  • Staff, volunteers and customers should not come to the food bank if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, or have come in contact with someone who has had symptoms.

  • Cloth face coverings should also be encouraged for customer use, based on local guidance.

  • Consider communicating to customers through signs, social media or newsletters.

  • Proactively reach out to county health departments.

IS THERE A PROTOCOL IN THE EVENT AN EMPLOYEE OR CUSTOMER IS DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19 OR THINKS THEY HAVE IT?

  • Each food bank should have policies and procedures in place for employee health and wellness.

  • You should be sure that sick employees and volunteers do not report to work and you should suggest they see a doctor.

  • If you have a sick employee or customer, report it to the health department.

  • CDC advises that you should provide instructions to employees/guests on what to do if they develop symptoms within 14 days after their last possible exposure to the virus.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IF A WORKER IS EXPOSED TO COVID-19?

  • Businesses should follow CDC and FDA guidance for screening employees who have been exposed to COVID-19.

  • Pre-screen employees for symptoms or fever before starting work.

  • Employees with fever and symptoms should be advised to see a doctor for evaluation and should be deferred to Human Resources for next steps.

For more info, visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

(800) 232-4636

Footnotes

1.

This document is FSHN20-6, one of a series of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date March 2020. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication. © NCSU. Used with permission.

2.

Natalie Seymour, MS, Extension associate; Mary Yavelak, MS, Extension associate; Candice Christian, MPH, Extension associate; and Ben Chapman, professor, food safety specialist; NC State University Extension. UF Contact: Michelle Danyluk, professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL | mddanyluk@ufl.edu | (863) 956-8654.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.