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EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor

State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health


March 16, 2020


TO:
Retail Food, Beverage, and other Related

SUBJECT:
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Retail Food, Beverage, and Other Related Service Venues


This guidance is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will update this guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.

Local environmental health and public health agencies may have additional guidance and/or requirements regarding these operations in their jurisdiction.

Background

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel virus that has been spreading worldwide. Community-acquired cases have now been confirmed in California. We are gaining more understanding of COVID-19’s epidemiology, clinical course, immunogenicity, and other factors as time progresses, and the situation is changing daily. CDPH is in the process of monitoring COVID-19, conducting testing with local and federal partners, and providing guidance and resources to prevent, detect and respond to the occurrence of COVID-19 cases in California.

At this time, community transmission of COVID-19 has occurred in California. Venues where people gather for drinking or dining should prepare for possible impacts of COVID-19 and take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases, including influenza and gastroenteritis.

Illness Severity

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

Context

Retail Food, Beverage, and Other Related service venues bring people from multiple communities into close contact with each other and have the potential to increase COVID-19 transmission. This guidance document describes steps that retail food, beverage, and other related service venue owners and management should take for the protection of patrons to prevent further COVID-19 transmission. This is not an exhaustive list of all food and beverage sites that should utilize social distancing, and does not relate to manufacturing or production of beer and wine. The CDPH guidance has sanitation, personal hygiene, and social distancing as an important foundation for the prevention of COVID-19 in these venues.

The goals of these actions are: (1) to protect people attending and working at the venue and the local community from COVID-19 infection; and (2) to reduce community transmission and introductions of COVID-19 into new communities. Below we provide guidance for bars, wineries, breweries, pubs, restaurants/cafeterias, food trucks, grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, and charitable food distribution sites.

Retail Beverage Service Venues

  • Bars, wineries, breweries and pubs should be closed, except for venues that are currently authorized to provide off sale beer and wine to be consumed off premises are allowed.
  • This guidance is not intended to affect production of beer and wine.
  • Bars, breweries, pubs, and wineries that include meals provided by a full kitchen should follow the restaurant guidance below if they provide delivery or pick-up options.

Retail Food Service and Other Related Service Venues

Restaurants/Cafeterias

  • Restaurants should be closed for in-restaurant seated dining, and should be open only to drive-through or other pick-up/delivery options.
  • Remind employees of best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing per CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance of all hard surfaces, including tables and counter tops that are being utilized by employees and patrons during pickup/delivery options.

Food Trucks

  • Increase frequency of cleaning of menus, cash registers, receipt trays, condiment holders, writing instruments and other non-food contact surfaces frequently touched by patrons and employees.
  • Ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members is maintained and make clear that family members can participate together, stand in line together, etc.
  • Limiting the number of people in lines.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing per CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance of all hard surfaces.
  • Remind employees of best hygiene practices.

Grocery Stores and Charitable Food Distribution Sites

  • The food distribution chain is critical to the public’s health.  
  • Grocery stores and charitable food distribution sites should remain fully open and operational.
  • As with other settings, ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members is maintained and make clear that family members can participate in activities together, stand in line together, etc.
  • Social distancing of six feet per person, particularly between individuals who have come together on a one-time or rare basis.
  • Limiting the number of customers at any given time as necessary to reduce outdoor/indoor crowding and lines to meet social distancing guidance.
  • Increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of restroom and other high contact areas.
  • Train employees on best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Additional opportunities throughout the venue for persons to reduce the spread of the virus through hand washing or sanitizing stations.
  • Eliminate events/marketing that target individuals that the CDPH has identified as higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19.
  • Stores that have online ordering with outside pick-up or delivery options should encourage use of these when possible in lieu of indoor shopping.

Certified Farmers’ Markets

  • Space booths accordingly to increase social distancing among patrons in line and walking about the market.
  • Ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members is maintained and make clear that family members can participate in activities together, stand in line together, etc.
  • Limit the number of customers at any given time as necessary to reduce outdoor/indoor crowding and lines to meet social distancing guidance.
  • Increase cleaning and sanitizing frequency of restroom and other high contact areas.
  • Train employees on best hygiene practices including washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Offer additional hand washing or sanitizing stations throughout the venue.
  • Eliminate events/marketing that target individuals that the CDPH has identified as higher risk of serious illness for COVID-19.
  • Encourage activities such as pre-bagging to expedite purchasing.
  • Suspend sampling activities.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning of tables, payment devices, and other surfaces.
  • Eliminate non-essential/non-related services, such as bands or other entertainment.
  • At the end of the market, continue to utilize local food recovery systems to feed/donate extra products to populations in need.
  • If applicable, continue accepting EBT payment.

Other Information

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