Food Service Guidance

Because the virus is known to be transmitted by droplets produced by coughing or sneezing, avoiding close human contact is vital, especially with anyone who is sick.  People should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.  Hands should be washed with soap and water for 20 seconds.

If an employee is ill, they should stay home.  Watch for respiratory symptoms and a fever of 100.4F or greater.  It’s best for ill persons to call medical providers first rather than go to their office.

If you are mildly ill, stay home for 72 hours after fever has resolved or for 7-days after symptom onset.  Consult your physician if you have fever, cough, trouble breathing or other influenza-like symptoms (or are worsening after 24-48 hours).  If you are pregnant, immunocompromised or an older adult (>60 years), you should call your health care provider.  

Employee Monitoring Tool

Although the main transmission method for the virus is not via 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 that are touched by customers frequently 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.

The Governor’s Office Executive Order states the following:

“Section 1. Beginning March 16, 2020 at 9 p.m. until March 30, 2020, all businesses in the State of Illinois 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. Such businesses are permitted and encouraged to serve food and beverages so that they may be consumed off-premises, as currently 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. Businesses 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.”

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