Food Establishment Guidance

Guidance for food establishments completely closed during this time period

  • Move all perishable/TCS (time/temperature control for safety) foods from smaller, non-commercial refrigeration units and prep-coolers to a walk-in cooler or other large capacity cooler that maintains temperature at 41 F or below. Make sure all food is properly stored and covered.
  • Freeze as many fresh or refrigerated foods as possible. Freezing bakery items, like bread, will inhibit molding.  Some produce, cheese, and pre-cooked meats can be frozen as well. 
  • Discard anything normally  thrown out  due to the seven-day date marking rule. For example, open dairy products, deli salads made on site, lunch meat, soft cheeses, and other packaged food that has been open.
  • Discard prepared foods held hot or cold since the closure will have been a minimum of two weeks, including cut fruits and vegetables.
  • Ensure food and non-food contact surfaces are washed, rinsed, and sanitized prior to closing to prevent contamination and attracting pests.
  • Ensure equipment and utensils are washed, rinsed, and sanitized prior to closing.
  • Remove trash and dispose in the waste receptable outside of the establishment.
  • Ensure wastewater (dish sinks, mop buckets) is properly disposed of to prevent attracting pests.
  • Ensure outer openings are closed and tight-fitting to prevent pests.

Food establishments that remain open

  • Follow employee health policies and do not allow ill workers to be present.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning (see last section of this document for cleaning instructions) often on high touch surfaces, including those only food workers and employees are touching, as well as (point of sale systems, keyboards, equipment handles, restrooms, door handles).
  • Wash hands and wear single-use disposable gloves (in accordance with 2017 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code 3-304.15) before handling ready to eat foods. If gloves are not available due to a supply shortage, contact your local health department to determine an alternate policy (in accordance with 2017 FDA Food Code 3-301.11).
  • Frequently touched items, customer areas, and high-traffic areas should be the focus.  Businesses that have utensils, equipment, or other surfaces  frequently touched by customers may consider alternate methods, such as providing disposable utensils or having employees handle equipment for the customer.  It is important to dispense food in a sanitary manner. 

Prior to re-opening

  • Do a thorough walk-through of entire establishment to ensure it is as you left it and it is free from pests.
  • Discard spoiled food.
  • Discard food thawed or prepared prior to closing.
  • Run water through sinks prior to using them for handwashing, food preparation, or washing since the water was sitting in the pipes for many days.
  • Deep clean the establishment, including:
    • Food contact surfaces (cutting boards, prep tables, any utensils or dishes that have been stored and may have been contaminated during closure).
    • High-touch surfaces (point of sale systems, restrooms, door handles in  dining and kitchen areas).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations


  • If surfaces are dirty, clean using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol, and most common U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered household disinfectants.
    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach is effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
    • Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claimspdf iconexternal icon are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method, and contact time).
    • For soft (porous) surfaces, such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
    • If the items can be laundered, wash in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting and then dry completely.
    • Otherwise, use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims (examples at this linkpdf iconexternal icon) that are suitable for porous surfaces. 

Linens, clothing, and other items that go in the laundry

  • Do not shake dirty laundry to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  • Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts used for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.

Last Updated:  6/17/2020

Guidance Document: