Food Service Guidance

Because the virus causing COVID-19 is known to be transmitted by droplets produced by coughing or sneezing, avoiding close human contact is vital, especially with someone who is sick.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.  Hands should be washed often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.  If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

If an employee is ill, they should stay home and contact their health care provider if they have a fever, cough, or other mild COVID-19 symptoms, or symptoms are worsening after 24-48 hours.  If they are showing signs of trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face they should seek medical care immediately.  People might be at higher risk for severe illness if they are pregnant, immunocompromised, have a serious underlying medical condition, or are 65 years of age and older.

If you have been ill, you can be with others after three days with no fever and symptoms improved and it has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared.. 

Employee Monitoring Tool

Although the main transmission method for the COVID-19 virus is not through environmental surfaces, cleaning and sanitizing ALL surfaces in a food service operation remains important. 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 continue to dispense food in a sanitary manner.

Governor’s May 29, 2020 Executive Order Requirements for Restaurants and Bars

“All businesses that offer food or beverages for on-premises consumption—including restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and food halls—must suspend service for and may not permit on-premises consumption, except as permitted by Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) guidance. Such businesses are permitted and encouraged to serve food and beverages so that they may be consumed off-premises, as permitted by law, through means such as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, and curbside pick-up. In addition, customers may enter the premises to purchase food or beverages for carry-out. However, establishments offering food or beverages for carry-out, including food trucks, must ensure that they have an environment where patrons maintain adequate social distancing. Bars and restaurants located in airports, hospitals, and dining halls in colleges and universities are exempt from the requirements of this Executive Order. Hotel restaurants may continue to provide room service and carry-out. Catering services may continue. Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Executive Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. All businesses covered in this section may permit outdoor on-premises food and beverage consumption in accordance with DCEO guidance and when permitted by local ordinances and regulations.”

For further guidance on restaurant, retail food and food service establishments, contact your local health department.  For further guidance on manufactured food or dairy firms, contact the Illinois Department of Public Health at

Last Updated: 6/17/2020